Russia is claiming that a drone attack on a Russian base in Syria was part of a Pentagon operation but disguised to look like the work of terrorists.
Russian authorities accused the United States of attacking their Syrian airbase with weaponized drones. Last January, a fleet of drones attacked Russia’s Hmeymim airbase and its Tartus logistics support facility – both in Syria. The attacks were allegedly carried out by terrorists, but Russia believes the attacks were a Pentagon operation.
Russian Defense Ministry specialists said the designs and military capabilities of the drones indicated they were American-made and beyond the capability of a terrorist organization to develop. Russian Deputy Defense Minister, Alexander Fomin, told security experts at the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on Thursday, that the drones were managed from a U.S. Boeing Poseidon-8 reconnaissance aircraft. He accused the Pentagon of orchestrating an “elaborate operation” to cripple Russia’s defense systems with the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Three Possible Reasons for US Drone Attack
Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of National Defense, a Russian journal, told the Russian news agency TASS in an interview that the United States had three objectives for deploying the armed drones. He said this was to –
- Uncover the Russian air defense systems in Syria
- Conduct radio-electronic reconnaissance over the area
- Inflict “real damage” on Russian forces
“The first goal was to see how well our bases in Syria are protected from such threats as a massive attack by light drones,” Korotchenko alleged. “Correspondingly, this was aimed at uncovering the strong and weak points in our air defense system in Syria.
“Another objective was to try to inflict real damage to us,” added Korotchenko. He told TASS he believes that the United States would have rejoiced at undermining the political strength of Russia and hurting their world image if the attacks had been successful – which could have weakened Russian geopolitical positions in Syria and beyond.
Korotchenko also said the fact that Russian Deputy Defense Minister Fomin announced the security breach indicated the seriousness and authenticity of the incidents. He added the thoroughness of Russia’s investigation into the drones shows that Russia is not interested in “instigating or whipping up tensions,” but it was a serious matter.
“This means that they are controlling some terrorist groups that are operating in their interests… Such things are not announced groundlessly. These are very serious issues and therefore, if such accusations were announced, this means that they had been fully confirmed,” Korotchenko pointed out.
Russia Seized Six Drones
When the incident occurred in January, Russian forces were able to shoot down seven of the drones and seize six others using electronic warfare measures. Head of the Russian General Staff’s Office for UAV Development, Major-General Alexander Novikov, disclosed that military specialists obtained data from the seized drones which revealed the drones’ programming, flight routes and points where munitions were to be deployed.
Russian President Vladamir Putin has slammed the drone attacks, saying “there is nothing good about them” and that the attacks were aimed at destroying Russian alliances in the region.
“There were some provocateurs, but they were not Turks. We know who they are, who paid who for this provocation and what the actual sum was. As for this kind of incidents, there is nothing good about them. These are provocations aimed at destroying previous agreements,” Putin said at a meeting with Russia’s top news agencies.
“As for these attacks, they were undoubtedly prepared well. We know when and where these unmanned vehicles were handed over [to the attackers], and how many of them there were. These aerial vehicles were disguised – I would like to stress that – as homemade. But it is obvious that some high-tech equipment was used,” Putin added.