The Russian Ministry of Defense released for publication footage of a Russian commanding officer in Syria reporting to the Chief of Staff on the operational results of the Russian aircraft carrier group's presence in Syria. Russian Chief of Staff and Deputy Defense Minister Valery Gerasimov officially confirmed that the aircraft carrier group was leaving the region. The footage was uploaded to the official MOD YouTube channel on January 6, 2017.
Valery Gerasimov: "My greetings to the respectful comrades. From 00 hours, December 30, 2016, the ceasefire has been in force throughout all Syrian territory. This ceasefire does not include the international terror organizations. In compliance with the decision of Supreme Commander Vladimir Putin, the MOD has started to diminish the scale of its forces deployed to Syria. The first to leave the conflict zone will be the aircraft carrier group of the Northern Fleet Command, led by the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. Let me stress that the Navy's involvement in the fight against the terrorist groups enabled us to liberate Aleppo, Syria's economic capital, in a short period of time. Let me ask General Colonel Kartopolov, commanding officer of the Syrian forces, to report on the operational results of the aircraft carrier group. Please go ahead."
General Colonel Kartopolov: "Copy that. Comrade, the Chief of Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces, on November 8, 2016, the aircraft carrier group of the Northern Fleet Command, including the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, the heavy atomic missile destroyer Peter the Great, and other ships from the Black Sea Command began active duty along the territory of Syria. For the first time in the history of the Russian Navy, the Navy aviation crews flew in an operational environment, including attacking ground targets. During the two months of deployment, the Navy aviation pilots conducted 420 operational sorties, 117 of which were conducted at night. Almost all the flights were conducted in complex hydro-meteorological conditions. In total, 1,252 terror targets were hit."