Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff Igor Kostyukov revealed the most difficult decision in his work. He told about this in an interview with the TV channel “Russia 1”.
According to him, the hardest “yes” was associated with the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Syria last year, where he was supposed to guarantee the safety of the Russian leader. “We had no room for error, not that for a mistake, but for the slightest failure,” Kostyukov specified.
The head of the GRU noted that there were many “unclear points.” At the same time, many other structures were also responsible – the Federal Security Service (FSO), Russian and Syrian partners and colleagues. “It’s all consolidated in one place,” he said. Nevertheless, the circle of people who participated in the operation was extremely narrow and everyone took the task as responsibly as possible.
Earlier, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, said that they tried to present the visit of the Russian President to Damascus as a trip of the country’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. “We had to organize the implementation of all tasks to ensure the safety of the visit, without revealing the essence of the plan and purpose of these events,” he explained.
Putin visited Damascus on January 7, 2020, where he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. After the talks, the leaders of the two states walked the streets of the Syrian capital. Putin also visited the Umayyad Mosque and the oldest Cathedral of the Virgin Mary in the Christian quarter of Damascus.
There has been a civil war in Syria since the spring of 2011. The main participants in the conflict are government forces on the side of Assad, the moderate opposition and Islamist groups.