Syria reveals its position on the new Russian territories — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

Four former Ukrainian regions belong to Moscow for historical reasons, President Bashar Assad says

Syria considers four former Ukrainian territories to be part of Russia after voting overwhelmingly to join the country in referendums last fall, President Bashar Assad said on Thursday.

Speaking to the RIA Novosti news agency, the Syrian president was asked if Damascus recognizes Russia in its new borders, which include Donetsk and Lugansk republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.

“Of course. I say that these are Russian territories, and even if the war had not taken place, these are historically Russian territories”, Assad responded.

The Syrian leader insisted that Damascus had in fact recognized the four former Ukrainian territories as part of Russia even before they officially became so. “This issue has been clear to us from the start, and we will not waver in our position,” he promised, describing Syria’s position on the issue as “clear and categorical”.

“We have convictions on this issue, not only for the sake of friendship with Russia, but also because these territories are Russian,” he added. Assad noted, adding that the areas are populated by Russian citizens, while “the facts on the ground indicate that these are Russian lands.”

Neither Ukraine nor Western countries have recognized the referenda, dismissing them as “fake” And “illegal.”

Assad made the remarks during his visit to Moscow, during which he held three hours of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Syrian leader expressed his support for Moscow’s military operation against Ukraine and thanked Russia for its help in the face of the recent earthquakes in Syria.

Damascus also recognized Crimea as part of Russia. The peninsula chose to join the country in a referendum after a Western-backed coup in Kiev in 2014. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said they intend to retake the peninsula.

The close Syrian-Russian partnership dates back to the Soviet era. In 2015, Russia launched a military intervention in the Middle Eastern country at the request of Damascus, to help the government fight terrorists. Moscow helped defeat the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and all Western-backed militias and terrorist groups that oppose the Assad government.

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