Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow on February 26, 2014. The headaches of Ukraine's new pro-Western interim leaders are compounded by Moscow's decision to freeze payments on a massive bailout package that Putin promised to ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych as his reward for rejecting closer EU ties.  AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL METZEL

Vladimir Putin orders Russian forces to begin withdrawal from Syria

Posted on Posted in World News

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has abruptly declared that he is withdrawing the majority of Russian troops from Syria, saying the six-month military intervention had largely achieved its objective.

The news on Monday, relayed personally to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, in a telephone call from Putin, followed a meeting in the Kremlin with the Russian defence and foreign ministers. He said the pullout, scaling back an intervention that began at the end of September, is due to start on Tuesday.

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