Upper House: No request from Putin to dispatch troops in Syria
Russian Upper House officials and the Kremlin spokesman have dismissed media reports about an alleged request to sanction the use of Russian military forces in Syria, adding that such document never existed even in preparatory stage.
“I know nothing about this, I have seen no documents on this issue. I cannot explain where this information could be coming from,” Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday when facing the question if media reports about the request to the Federation Council to sanctions the use of the Russian military forces in Syria were true.
“Currently there are a lot of speculations in various mass media. An overwhelming majority of these reports have nothing in common with the reality. I think it would be counter-productive and silly if I started commenting on all such news,” Peskov added.
The head of the Upper House Committee for Defense and Security, Viktor Ozerov, has also said that he had no information about the document. “There is no such address in the Federation Council and, to my awareness, it is not being prepared,” Ozerov told RIA Novosti.
The comments came after US news agency Bloomberg reported, quoting its own unnamed sources, that Vladimir Putin’s administration had already prepared the request for the Federation Council’s license to send troops to Syria. The US journalists went further to suggest that Moscow planned to start an independent campaign against ISIS in the Middle East if no agreement with Washington is reached.
Russian law requires that the presidential decision to send military forces abroad should be sanctioned by the Upper House of Parliament, the Federation Council. However, in 2006 Russian senators passed a set of amendments to Federal law that allow president to send special forces in foreign countries without such sanctions as part of anti-terrorist operations.
“In theory, the fight against the Islamic State falls under the definition of fight against terrorism but last year’s events showed that despite these amendments and possibilities Vladimir Putin chose to address the Federation Council with a request to sanction the use of Russian military forces in Crimea,” Senator Ozerov told reporters.
On March 1, 2014 the Federation Council unanimously approved Vladimir Putin’s request to use Russian military forces in Ukraine in order to settle the turmoil in the split country. However, the actual troops deployment has not taken place and in June 2014 Putin asked the senators to repeal their decision in order to help the beginning of the three-party talks aimed at peaceful resolution of the conflict in Donbass.
Russia currently has a small number of military specialists in Syria, most of them technical staff advising government troops on the use of Russia-made weapons.