"I trust her, she is a very open person," Vladimir Putin said of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen here at last month's climate talks in Paris. But, he told the German daily Bild, "she is also subject to certain constraints and limitations." Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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When Russia began its bombing campaign in Syria, Russian officials said it would be a short-term air operation. Since then, things have gotten messier. In his state of the nation speech Thursday, President Putin reminded Russians that it took nearly a decade to crush terrorists who staged attacks around Russia in the 1990s. He cast the fight in Syria in similar terms. Ivan Sekretarev/AP hide caption

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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives on day two of the G-20 Turkey Leaders Summit on November 16, 2015 in Antalya. Ozan Kose /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Egyptian military vehicles approach the wreckage of a Russian passenger jet bound for St. Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 1 after it crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. Maxim Grigoriev/AP hide caption

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Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar Assad during Tuesday's meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow. RIA Novosti/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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The Two-Way

Syria's Assad Visits Moscow To Discuss Military Plans With Putin

The trip was kept secret until after Tuesday's meeting — and after President Bashar Assad had safely returned home.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Kremlin. Assad was in Moscow, in his first known trip abroad since the war broke out in Syria in 2011, to meet his strongest ally Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Alexei Druzhinin/AP hide caption

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The Russian leader, shown here as "Vladimir Vladimirovich Buddha," was depicted as various pop culture heroes and religious, mythical and historical figures at a Moscow exhibition on Wednesday, his 63rd birthday. MAXIM SHIPENKOV/EPA /LANDOV hide caption


President Obama and Vladimir Putin met for 90 minutes after the Russian president's Monday speech at the United Nations. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Russian President Vladimir Putin met Wednesday with Italian officials and Pope Francis, as the U.S. sought to encourage the Vatican to join the West in condemning Moscow's actions in Ukraine. Luca Bruno/AP hide caption

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) greets Supreme Court Chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev. The Kremlin says Putin, who has been out of public view for more than a week, is perfectly healthy. Alexei Druzhinin/AP hide caption

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Police escort the suspects in the killing of Boris Nemtsov into a court house in Moscow, Russia, on Sunday. A total of five people have been arrested over the weekend in connection with the killing of the fierce opponent of President Vladimir Putin. Ivan Sekretarev/AP hide caption

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A portrait of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov and flowers photographed on Friday at the site where he was killed on February 27, with St. Basil's Cathedral seen in the background. Maxim Shemetov/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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