01:58 GMT03 August 2021
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    Moscow is not going to fight US troops in Syria, a senior Russian lawmaker told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian Aerospace Forces and its vessels are tasked with supporting the Syrian government's anti-terrorism efforts, not conducting armed activity with the United States, Russian senator Victor Ozerov told Sputnik on Monday.

    "Russia is not going there to conduct armed activity with the US, our task there is to support the Syrian armed forces in the fight against terrorism," Ozerov, chairman of the Russian upper house defense and security committee, said.

    He stressed that "we have a mandate to fulfill this very task."

    The return of Russia’s Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate to the Mediterranean Sea is planned and not related to last week's US missile attack on Syria, the senator said.

    "You cannot deploy such a ship in one day. This rotation is planned; the Admiral Grigorovich escorted the Admiral Kuznetsov [aircraft carrier], and is now back," he said. "Admiral Grigorovich is quite an effective ship; we have already attacked militants from its deck. Thus, this is not so much about the moral support for the Syrian armed forces in the fight against terrorists, as it is about fire cover," he elaborated.

    The Black Sea Fleet frigate returned to the Russian Navy's permanent group in the Mediterranean Sea after taking part in bilateral Russian-Turkish exercises during an unofficial visit by the Turkish warships to Russia’s southern port of Novorossiysk, Black Sea Fleet spokesman Сapt. 1st Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachev said.

    Trials of Russia's first Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate were successfully completed in the Barents Sea in late 2015. The frigates, displacing 3,850 tonnes, are designed for anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, as well as for air defense missions, operating both independently or as part of convoys and naval task forces.

    On April 7, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat. US President Donald Trump said that the attack was a response to the alleged use of chemical weapon in Syria's Idlib province on April 4, which resulted in the death of over 80 people, an incident which Washington blames on the Syrian government.

    The Syrian foreign minister denied the government’s involvement in the Idlib province incident, saying it had never nor would it ever use chemical weapons on either civilians or terrorists operating in the country.

    The Russian Defense Ministry said on April 5 that the airstrike near Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian air force hit a terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 6 that groundless accusations regarding the chemical weapons incident in Idlib province were unacceptable until an investigation into the matter had been carried out, while Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday criticized the US missile attack as a violation of international law.

    The US missile attack claimed the lives of 10 people, an officer of the Syrian Armed Forces told Sputnik. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the attack left two Syrian servicemen missing and four dead; six suffered severe injuries from the fire. Homs Governor Talal Barazi said on April 7 that at least two civilians from a nearby village and five Syrian servicemen had been killed.

    After the missile attack, the Russian Defense Ministry suspended a point-to-point communications link with the US military under the memorandum of understanding on the conflict in Syria.


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