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Kremlin hopes Syria can be a future thorn in NATO's southern flank

The longer runway at Khmeimim airbase in Syria gives nuclear-capable bombers a place to land, and is one more move in Russia's plan to expand its capacities in new directions.
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The end of December is a special month for the Russian military. Every year at this time, practically all the military leaders of the armed forces — including the president, the minister of defense and the chief of the general staff — come to the National Center for Defense Management in Moscow. They sum up the results, announce statistics, “express concern about NATO's actions” and, of course, call for vigilance. The generals then invariably bring what they hear at these meetings to their headquarters.

Therefore, the statement by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the annual meeting on the expansion of the western runway at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria was, on the one hand, a report on the work done. The reconstruction was conceived in 2019 and began in 2020 after the formal approval by Damascus of the protocol on the transfer of additional land and water area to Russia for the expansion of the Khmeimim and Tartus bases. However, the expansion is not only related to Syria, but also relations between Russia and NATO.

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