Russian President Vladimir Putin declares Russia's Syria mission a resounding success, but warns that Moscow could respond to future ''threats'' with military airpower at any time. Rough Cut – subtitled (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (March 17), that Russia's military success in Syria had allowed him to order a partial draw down of forces, but stressed the Kremlin could scale up its presence again within hours and would continue to carry out air strikes there. Speaking in the Kremlin three days after he ordered Russian forces to partially withdraw from Syria, the Russian president said the smaller strike force he had left behind in his closest Middle East ally was big enough to help forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad keep advancing. "I'm sure that we will see new and serious successes in the near future," Putin told an audience of over 700 servicemen and military officers at the Kremlin ceremony. "The Syrian army has gained the strategic initiative and continues to clear its land of terrorist gangs. Most importantly - we have created conditions for the start of the peace process," he said. "All partners are warned and they know that our air defense systems will be used against any targets which we consider a threat to Russian servicemen. I want to stress - any targets."