Putin welcomes U.S. military withdrawal from Syria

Posted at 8:06 AM, Dec 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-20 10:06:19-05

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday welcomed the U.S. decision to withdraw its military from Syria.

Speaking at his annual news conference, Putin said he agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump who said Wednesday that the defeat of the Islamic State group removed the need for U.S. military presence in the country.

Putin reaffirmed the long-held Russian argument that the U.S. presence in Syria was illegitimate because it hasn’t been vetted by the United Nations Security Council or approved by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

Putin added that “if the U.S. decided to withdraw its contingent, it has done the right thing.”

The Russian leader added that it remained to be seen whether the U.S. delivered on its plan, noting Washington’s repeated promises to end its 17-year presence in Afghanistan.