Putin: Premature to talk about Russian military action against ISIS

With reports that Russia may have deployed military personnel and aircraft to Syria, the White House is monitoring suggestions that Russia has targeted ISIS. (AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday it was premature to talk about Russia taking part in military operations against ISIS, as the U.S. said it was checking reports of Russian troops in Syria.

Asked whether Russia could take part in operations against ISIS, Putin said: “We are looking at various options but so far what you are talking about is not on the agenda.”

“To say we’re ready to do this today – so far it’s premature to talk about this. But we are already giving Syria quite serious help with equipment and training soldiers, with our weapons,” RIA Novosti state news agency quoted Putin as saying.

The White House on Thursday said it was closely monitoring reports that Russia is carrying out military operations in Syria, warning such actions, if confirmed, would be “destabilizing and counter-productive.”

The comments come after images appeared on a social media account linked to Syrian fighters purporting to show Russian aircraft and drones near Idlib province.

Putin, speaking at an international economic forum in the far eastern city of Vladivostok, criticized U.S. air strikes on ISIS as ineffective.

“So far the effectiveness of these air strikes is low,” he said.

Putin said that military supplies to Syria were fulfilling contracts dating back five to seven years.

Last Update: Friday, 04 September 2015 KSA 11:33 - GMT 08:33