WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — Russia’s demonstration of its long-range cruise missile capability in Syrian campaign shows the progress made under Moscow’s recent defense modernization program, former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Sputnik on Wednesday.
"It [Russia’s use of long-range cruise missiles] is mainly a manifestation of the progress that has been made in modernizing Russia’s forces over the last number of years," Gates said of the newly fielded missile capability.
At the beginning of October, Russia conducted 26 cruise missile strikes on targets in Syria at a range of nearly 1,000 miles.
Gates noted that the Russian defense capabilities do "raise a concern."
Russian forces have conceded airstrikes in Syria on September 30, at the invitation of the Syrian government. The strikes have caused substantial damage to Islamic State command and logistics networks, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.