The Latest: Putin: Iran pullout contingent on Syria security

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, drives the Aurus, or Cortege, limousine during his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Sochi Autodrom circuit in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Russia President Vladimir Putin’s comments (all times local):

6:00 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says any talks about the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria would be contingent on providing security guarantees for Syria.

Putin said Thursday that Russia helped negotiate the pullback of Iranian forces from the border with Israel over the summer.

Israel and the United States have demanded the withdrawal of all Iranian forces from Syria.

Putin said at an international policy forum in Sochi that the issue could be discussed between Iran, Syria and the United States, with Russia joining the dialogue.

He said Syria should be offered security guarantees by “those who want to see the Iranian forces pullout.”

Russia and Iran have staunchly supported Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, helping turn the tide of the conflict in its favor.

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5:45 p.m.

Vladimir Putin says new hypersonic missiles have given Russian an edge militarily.

The Russian president told the audience at an international policy forum that the country’s military has commissioned one hypersonic weapon already and that the recently developed Avangard hypersonic vehicle is set to enter service within the next few months.

Putin said earlier this year that the Avangard has an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at a speed 20 times the speed of sound. He has said the weapon can change both its course and its altitude while en route to a target, making it “absolutely invulnerable to any air or missile defense means

Putin said at Thursday’s forum in Sochi that others plan to begin testing hypersonic missiles in coming years and added: “We have run ahead of the competition,”

Russia has beefed up its arsenals amid tensions with the West over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and the allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential vote.

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5:30 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says U.S. sanctions against his country and others have eroded international trust in the United States dollar.

Putin said at an international policy forum in Sochi on Thursday that the U.S. sanctions against companies that engage in trade with Iran would spur the creation of payment systems that don’t depend on the dollar.

The Russian leader said the policy in Washington “undermines trust in the dollar as a universal payment instrument and the main reserve currency.”

Putin says Russia was forced to sharply reduce the share of U.S. Treasuries in its currency reserves.

He said: “We did that not because we wanted to undermine the dollar, but because of sanctions that have been introduced against us.”

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5:10 p.m.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia would wait for the outcome of an investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi before deciding what impact the dissident writer’s fate may have on relations with Saudi Arabia.

Turkish officials have said Khashoggi was brutally killed inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, which Saudi officials have denied.

Speaking Thursday at an international policy forum, Putin said: “Those who believe that there was a murder must present evidence.”

He added that “the disappearance was a tragedy, but we need to understand what happened” before deciding what impact it may have on Russia’s relations with Saudi Arabia.

Putin alleged “the U.S. bears a certain responsibility” for what happened to Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who went into self-imposed exile in the U.S.

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4:55 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is hailing Turkey’s efforts to set up a demilitarized zone in Syria’s northern province of Idlib.

Putin said Thursday that even though the Oct. 15 deadline for the withdrawal of Syrian radical groups and heavy weapons from the zone hasn’t been fully met, Russia sees that Turkey is doing its best to accomplish the task.

The Turkey-Russia deal reached last month calls for the removal of all members of Syrian radical groups and heavy weapons from the 15-20-kilometer (9-12 mile) deep demilitarized zone in Idlib.

He said that “Turkish partners are doing all they can to fulfill their obligations.” He added that Turkey has been acting “in a tough and efficient way” to enforce the deal.

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4:40 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he believes that President Donald Trump would like to improve relations with Russia.

Putin said Trump aims at “some sort of stabilization and improvement of U.S.-Russian ties,” adding that Moscow is ready for that “at any moment.”

The Russian leader pointed at political infighting between the Democrats and the Republicans, saying it blocked any possible effort by Trump to repair the fractured ties with Russia.

Speaking at a forum of international policy experts in Sochi on Thursday, Putin said his meeting with Trump in Helsinki in July was positive even though Trump’s opponents sought to use it in the political infighting. He said he and Trump had a good discussion despite policy differences.

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4:25 p.m.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia would only use its nuclear weapons in response to an incoming missile attack.

Putin said Thursday Russia’s military doctrine doesn’t envisage a preventative nuclear strike. He noted that Russia would only launch a nuclear strike if its early warning systems spot missiles heading toward its territory, adding that “the aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable.”

Speaking at a policy forum, Putin that “when we see a coming strike on the territory of Russia, we will retaliate.” He acknowledged it will mean a global catastrophe, but emphasized that “we can’t be those who initiated it.”

“We would be victims of aggression and would get to Heavens as martyrs,” while those who would launch the strike would “just die and not even have time to repent.”

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