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Putin Praises Trump’s Syria Troop Exit as ‘Right Thing to Do’

  • Russian leader sees risk of nuclear confrontation with U.S.
  • Stagnation puts Putin on the spot at annual press conference
Vladimir Putin speaks on Dec. 20
Vladimir Putin speaks on Dec. 20Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
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Russian President Vladimir Putin applauded Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria even as he warned that American moves to pull out of arms control treaties are increasing the risk of a nuclear confrontation.

Putin said that the U.S. announcement it will withdraw its troops from Syria is “the right thing to do” though he expressed skepticism about whether it will actually take place. He added that he broadly agreed with Trump’s view that Islamic State has been defeated in Syria. “Donald’s right and I agree with him,” he said at his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday.