Support The Moscow Times!

4,000 Russians Now Fighting in Syrian Insurgency, Says Putin

Rwa Faisal / AP

Thousands of Russians are still fighting for militant forces in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested on Thursday.

Speaking to a gathering of naval officers returning from the region, Putin said military intelligence believes as many as 4,000 Russians remain in Syria. A further 5,000 fighters from former Soviet states are also believed to be fighting.  

The Russian president gave no sign as to how exactly the figures break down. There are at least nine significant groups still fighting in the conflict, which is now entering its sixth year.  

Russia has been involved in a military campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad since September 2015. Russian organization and firepower have been behind increasingly confident operations to retake ground lost to opposition forces. 

Putin defended the controversial operations. They had, he said, “dealt a blow to international terrorism.” Russia stood alone in this fight, Putin added, hampered by resistance from “so-called partners” in the West.

Later on Thursday, the president announced that he had plans to strengthen Russia’s military further.

The priorities for new investment would be strategic nuclear defense and aerospace defense forces, he said.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more