Putin Says Russia Seeking to Set Up Regional Anti-IS Network
Russia is trying to establish "some kind of a coordination network" to cooperate with Middle Eastern countries in the fight against Islamic State (IS) group, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
In an interview with CBS and PBS channels of which the Kremlin's press service informed, he added he had informed Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United States of Moscow's intentions.
"We would welcome a common platform for collective action against the terrorists," he added, according to sections of the interview published on the Kremlin website.
The Russian head of state explained involvement in the Syrian conflict was aimed at preserving "legitimate bodi3s of power" to avoid situations of state disintegration as the one seen in Libya or the "similar situation" in Iraq.
Anther reason he pointed was that "there are more than 2,000 militants in Syria from the former Soviet Union. So instead of waiting for them to return back home we should help President al-Assad fight them there, in Syria. This is the main incentive that impels us to help President al-Assad."
Asked about the purpose of Moscow troops' presence in Syria and the fight against IS, Putin asserted Russian actions in the war-torn country were "based on the United Nations Charter, i.e. the fundamental principles of modern international law" and based on a request for military and technical assistance by Damascus.
He described the Syrian opposition fighting Assad there (called "moderate" by the West) as "terrorist organizations". Putin also accused the US of providing military support to illegal structures "counter to the principles of modern international law" and the UN Charter.
However, Putin also stressed his country would not take part "in any field operations on the territory of Syria or in other states" or at least does not "plan it for now."
Passing on to other issues, Putin himself broached the subject of Ukraine. Asked if he believed the US had something to do with the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych last year, he said: "I know this for sure." In his words, Russian is even aware of how much "people who overthrew Viktor Yanukovych" were paid.
The interview preceded Putin's address at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday - an event he had not attended for several years.
"I can already tell you that the decision to establish the United Nations was taken in our country at the Yalta Conference," Putin also said, making a reference to the 1945 conference which sought to arrange the post-WWII order.
Putin is widely expected to comment on the situation in Syria and the anti-IS efforts his country is making in order to preserve the government and avoid further destabilization.
This also comes amid reports that Moscow, Baghdad, Tehran and Damascus have agreed to set up a Baghdad-based coordination center to tackle the extremists more efficiently.
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