Russian Officials – S-400 Advanced Missile Defenses In Syria Ordered To Stand Down

s-400 Russian missile defense

 

Many people have wondered why the Russians didn’t simply intercept the 59 cruise missiles that were headed to the Shayrat airfield in Homs, Syria. The Pantsir-S1, S-300, S-400, Buk-M2 and Tor systems are extremely capable defensive weapons systems which were designed to take out, among other targets, cruise missiles.

According to Russian state outlet Pravda, it was not a matter of the inability of the Russian system to measure up to the challenge of intercepting the American missiles as much as it was a recognition that shooting down American missiles would have been the act which engaged Russia in direct conflict with the United States. They claim that the decision was made to allow the missiles to strike their targets, having been given the opportunity to remove personnel and minimize casualties, and make a decision as to a response at a later time.

The Russian surface to air missile defenses, such as the S-400 in particular, were deployed following the Turkish shootdown of a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M attack aircraft in November of 2015. Under the agreement with Syria their function and purpose is to protect Russian facilities and personnel, not those of their host nation. Similar systems which are operated on a more limited basis by Syrian forces also did not respond.

Major-General Igor Konashenkov, of the Russian Defense Ministry, noted that only 23 of 59 US cruise missiles reached the Syrian airbase, while the Ministry made a point of noting that none of the 36 missiles which failed to strike their targets were engaged by either Russia or Syria.

Sergei Sudakov, of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, said, “If Syria had used Russian air defense systems in response to the US missile attack, it would have triggered a nuclear conflict. Yet, it was only the composure of the Russian Commander-in-Chief that made it possible to avoid a nuclear conflict,”.

“The most important question that all are asking today is why Russia did not use its air defenses in Syria to shoot down US missiles. Most people believe that Russia should have done that to prevent USA’s aggression in Syria. By and large, if Russia had started shooting those missiles down, we would have not woken up this morning. If Russia had responded to the USA, it would have launched a nuclear conflict – a clash of two nuclear powers on a third territory. Donald Trump has come to the state known as ‘hot war.'”

Military expert Vladislav Shurygin said, “Russian air defense systems are subordinated only to Russia. They protect Russian military facilities. Everything else is a PR that has nothing to do with reality. That said, we have Israel and Turkey bombing Syria every now and then, while Russia covers only its own military infrastructure in the country. I would not exclude that the Russian administration took a political decision not to intercept the US missiles, because it would have been a conflict between Russia and the USA on the level of air defense interception.”

According to the video, the S-400 is capable of locating targets nearly 600 kilometers away, with a firing range of up to 400 kilometers. It is capable of shooting down objects as small as a soccer ball, even if they are flying at supersonic speeds, including space-based weapons. We can all make our own decisions as to the veracity of the Pravda claims that the Russians made a wise decision not to shoot down the American cruise missiles.

Based upon its capabilities and the likelihood that they cost more than the structures it would be protecting, it’s reasonable to assume the Russians opted for the the smart move and let them find their targets.

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