President Vladimir Putin says Russian military operations in Syria have cost the Defense Ministry budget 33 billion rubles ($483 million).
Putin stated that Russia's actions had “radically altered the situation” in Syria. “We did not allow the terrorist tumor to grow. We destroyed bandit hideouts, stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, and blocked oil smuggling routes that provided the terrorists with basic financial support,” said the President.
Putin says the Syrian authorities still have much work to do to strengthen their legitimacy and to create conditions to begin the peace process.
The President promised to continue supporting Syria, which included Russian air support in military operations. He assured that additional Russian forces could be dispatched to Syria in a matter of hours.
Putin made his speech at a ceremony honoring members of military operations in Syria. Awards were given to 17 soldiers, four of whom received the Hero of the Russian Federation Gold Star, Russia's highest honor.
According to official figures, the USA is spending an average of $11.5 million a day on air strikes in Syria and Iraq. Over its 167 day campaign in Syria, Russia spent an average of $2.8 million a day (at an exchange rate of 70 rubles to the dollar).
Russia's military operations in Syria officially lasted from September 30, 2015, to March 15, 2016.