Putin praises Kurds for combatting ISIS, but says Russia won’t interfere in Iraq

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Peshmerga fighters (L). File photo

ARA News

Erbil – The Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday praised the fighting capabilities of the Kurds, but said Russia will not interfere in the domestic affairs of Iraq.

“Russia always had a good relationship with Kurds. Kurds have their own very difficult path. We know what is happening in the Middle East and I can only reaffirm that the Peshmerga, the Kurdish units, have been really courageous in fighting international terrorism,” Putin said in his annual press conference.

However, the Russian president avoided answering the question of a Kurdish reporter if Moscow would support Kurdistan’s independence.

“They have been really efficient in the battles. As for sovereignty and independence of certain parts we proceed from the premise that we need to act according to international law. Ultimately the rights of the Kurds, the legitimate rights will be ensured, but what will be the form, how it will be done, it will depend on Iraq and on the Kurds themselves,” he stated.

“We have been in contact, will be in contact with Baghdad and with Kurds, but we will not interfere in the domestic affairs of Iraq.” Putin told reporters in Moscow on Friday.

Speaking to ARA News, Timur Akhmetov, an independent Russian expert, said Russia in general deals only with the Baghdad or the Iraqi central government and not directly with Erbil [capital of Kurdistan Region], although it did support the Kurdish Peshmerga forces with arms.

“Russia, you know, is reluctant to deal with the KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government],” he said.

“Russia’s basic position is to deal with the Kurds only through Baghdad,” Akhmetov told ARA News.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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