A senior Russian military official has accused the US of being directly involved in a drone attack on the Russian airbase in Syria’s Khmeimim. The aircraft were controlled from a US spy plane nearby, he claimed.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was speaking about a report made by Russia’s Defense Ministry. It said that the drone attack on the Russian airbase was directed from a US P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane.
The base located in Latakia governorate has been attacked by primitive drones on numerous occasions. According to Col. Gen. Aleksandr Fomin, Russia’s deputy defense minister, the attack on January 6 was done with direct help from the American military.
Speaking at a high-profile security forum in China, Fomin said a Boeing P-8 Poseidon was deployed in the area on that date, when 13 drones were launched to attack the Russian base. The US reconnaissance plane took control of the drones once the troops defending the base used electronic warfare to disrupt the control signals for the UAVs.
“They were controlled manually, and not by some peasant, but from a capable, well-equipped Poseidon plane,” the Russian general said. He added that the drones were regrouped and directed to suspected zones of vulnerability in the defenses of the Russian base, most likely with the use of satellite data, before being destroyed by the Russian air defense forces.
“If people don’t want to fight terrorists armed with advanced weapons, they should stop arming them,” the general added. Fomin was speaking at the plenary session of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on Thursday.
The Russian Defense Ministry has been alluding to the possibility that the drone attacks on Russian military sites in Syria were being enabled by a technologically advanced party since facing this problem in early 2018, but previously avoided accusing the United States directly.
Fomin’s remarks were endorsed later in the day by the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry. “We can only confirm this. We received this absolutely credible information from our military specialists. We have repeatedly voiced our concerns about this,” Maria Zakharova said.
Dmitry Peskov called this data “very alarming,” but referred journalists to the Russian military for further comment.
The Pentagon insists that drones used to attack Russian troops in Syria can easily be built from parts available on the open market.