Four Russian ships fired 26 missiles into Syria, hitting 11 targets, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin during a televised meeting.
Shoigu said the strikes were launched from the Caspian Sea using precise long-range missiles that flew 1,500 kilometers to their targets.
All the strikes and their flight path had previously been coordinated with Russia’s foreign partners, the Defense Ministry said in Moscow on Wednesday.
“The effective range of the Russian cruise missiles came as the biggest surprise as the 1,500 kilometers they covered before hitting their targets is at stark variance with their declared range of just 300 kilometers,” the BBC quoted Russian military expert Andrei Soyustov.
“Russia proved that just like the United States, it also has long-range means of non-nuclear deterrence,” Soyustov added.
“Russia has already launched more than 100 airstrikes against the Islamic State and factions of Islamist and US-backed rebel forces opposed to President Bashar Assad. The naval strikes on Wednesday were the first known operational use of state-of-the-art SSN-30A Kalibr cruise missiles,” The Washington Post wrote.
“The attack showcased Russia’s advanced military capabilities and closer coordination with the governments of Iran and Iraq, whose airspace the missiles traversed before striking targets in Syria held by the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, an affiliate of al-Qaeda. The strikes came as Syrian troops backed by Russian air power launched their first major ground offensive since Moscow began its intervention in the conflict on September 30,” the paper added.
Russia’s cruise missile ability to strike targets 1,500 kilometers away came as a very unpleasant surprise to Washington proving the uselessness of the billions of dollars the United States pumps into the construction of giant aircraft carriers, Rostislav Ishchenko, a Moscow-based political analyst, told Vesti FM radio on Friday.