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Moscow plans to ‘considerably’ cut Russian military forces in Syria in the near term as 2018 elections approach in the Russian Federation. Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov confirmed the draw down in Moscow recently.
“Obviously, after military tasks, and there are just a few of them left, are completely fulfilled, the supreme commander-in-chief will take a decision to cut the task force,” he said, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
When asked about concrete parameters of the reduction, Gersimov said it would “depend on the situation.” “But, obviously, it will be a considerable reduction, with only the reconciliation center, out two military bases and a number of structures needed to maintain the current state of things being left,”
The Kremlin has been engaged in multiple military adventures abroad, in the Middle East and East Ukraine primarily. However, as the election season approaches, Moscow had made an overt effort to scale down offshore operations as social spending is cut at home. Over all military spending has also been reduced this year as social unrest has increased over higher taxes and reduced expenditures on education, infrastructure and healthcare.
Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin recently presented Russian President Vladimir Putin a new spending plan to jumpstart the Russian economy with domestic spending. The Kremlin has made multiple overtures to the EU and the Trump administration to attempt to find a solution in the Donbass region in East Ukraine where a war still smolders.