Terrorist Organizations Bear Responsibility for Civilian Casualties in Syria: Putin

 MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that terrorist organizations in Syria bear responsibility for civilian casualties, Mehr news Agency reported.

In an interview with American Fox News T.V channel Russian President Vladimir Putin replied to a question on the allegations that “Russia bombed Aleppo and Ghouta” by saying “You know, when there is warfare going on – and this is the worst thing that can happen for humankind – victims are inevitable, and there will always be a question of who’s to blame. I think it is the terrorist groups, particularly ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra who are to blame who destabilized the situation in the country.”

 He reiterated that a large number of civilians have been killed in the fierce and daily shelling by the US on Raqqa city.

 Putin noted that he discussed the humanitarian process with President Trump, adding “I think that we will achieve progress.”

 He said “We must discuss all facts and not to cut off one piece of the comprehensive picture and forget about other pieces,” indicating that it is regrettable not to know what is taking place in Syria.

 “There is nothing good in the fall of victims and I repeat that those who considered civilians as hostages due to their terrorist nature are the ones who bear responsibility for that,” Putin said.

 The Russian President hoped that there will be a progress in the cooperation with Washington with regard to settling the crisis in Syria.

 He indicated that Moscow and Washington agreed on the necessity of eliminating the danger of terrorism and on the importance of cooperation between the two countries in this regard.

 He said that if the terrorists put their hands on mass destruction weapons, this will have destructive repercussions on the world, adding that the intelligence of the two countries are cooperating in this domain.

 Russia is too big to be sanctioned or isolated

The Russian president also said that efforts by Western countries to isolate Russia failed, and they were doomed to fail, considering the country’s vast territory and role on the international arena.

"I think you see for yourself that these efforts failed. And they were never bound to succeed. I mean, take a look at the scale, at the sheer size of it, the importance of it in terms of the international security and the economy, take its contribution into the global energy market. It’s too big to be sanctioned and isolated," he said, according to Itar Tass.

"Speaking about the things that do unite us, though, and of the things that require our joint efforts, it brings us to the idea that such attempts to fight one another should be ended," the president added.

He went on to say that Moscow and Washington should "rather look for ways to… address common issues and challenges, to overcome these common concerns."

"So I think that this is the beginning of the path. This is a start. We did make a good start," Putin said, referring to his summit with US President Donald Trump in Helsinki on Monday.

Expanding NATO infrastructure threat for our national security: Putin

Elsewhere in the interview, Putin said that Russia’s reaction to NATO’s decision to grant membership to Ukraine and Georgia would be "extremely negative,".

"For us, well, it's a direct and immediate threat for our national security…moving this NATO infrastructure towards our borders would be a threat, and the reaction would be extremely negative," Putin said.

"It is a concern for us since the NATO is expanding its infrastructure and facilities, the number of servicemen is on the rise in the regions where they shouldn’t be," Putin said, adding that the military contingent in those regions has been increased by 10,000 people. "This is incompliant to the treaties between Russia and NATO. And this is a destabilizing factor, which we have to factor in, but we haven’t mention this today with President Trump."

According to the Russian leader, Russia has to "react to what’s going on around us."

"Take the NATO expansion to the east. When the Soviet Union was withdrawing troops from Germany, we were told that Russians should know one thing: that NATO would never extend [eastward] beyond the German borders. Within two waves, it happened, despite our principal posture. Nobody gave a damn about our posture," he said.

During the NATO summit in Bucharest ten years ago, NATO leaders vowed that Ukraine and Georgia would eventually be granted membership in the alliance.