Middle East

Russia to keep advanced S-400 air defense system in Syria, RIA cites Kremlin

FILE - In this file photo taken Dec. 16, 2015 and provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, Russian S-400 long-range air defense missile systems are deployed at Hemeimeem air base in Syria. Russia's defense ministry said Tuesday, March 15, 2016, that the first group of warplanes stationed at the Russian air base in Syria has left for home following a pullout order from President Vladimir Putin. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

MOSCOW: Russia will keep its most advanced air defense system in Syria despite a planned withdrawal of the bulk of Russian forces from there, Sergei Ivanov, the Kremlin's chief-of-staff, was quoted as saying Tuesday.

"In order to efficiently ensure security, including from the air, the most advanced air defence systems are needed," the RIA news agency quoted Ivanov as telling reporters when asked if Russia would keep the S-400 surface-to-air missile system.

With a range of up to 400 kilometers (248.55 miles) the anti-aircraft system means Russia can control large swaths of the skies above Syria.

Russian state television Tuesday showed war planes leaving for redeployment in Russia, a day after President Vladimir Putin ordered most of his country's military contingent there to start to withdraw.





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