Russia targets IS from submarine deployed in Mediterranean

Moscow: Russia attacked the Islamic State positions in Syria with Kalibr missiles fired by the submarine deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday.

"It was the first time that Kalibr cruise missiles were fired by the Rostov-on-Don submarine from the Mediterranean Sea," Tass news agency quoted Shoigu as saying during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Shoigu, the missile launch was carried out by the sub from a submerged position, striking two major targets of the IS.

"The objectives were two major points of terrorists in Syrian Raqqa province ... We are confident to say that the strikes brought quite significant damage to an ammunition warehouse and a mine plant, as well as to the oil infrastructure," Shoigu said.

According to him, both Israel and the US were informed of Russia's plans of striking terrorist positions using missiles from the submarine. The Russian minister also said that in the past three days, more than 300 sorties were made by Tu-22 long-range bombers and other Russian aircraft deployed at Syria's Hmeimim airbase, hitting more than 600 targets.

During the meeting, Putin urged an analysis of the damage and functions of new high-precision weapons which were used in Russian airstrikes in Syria. "Both Kalibr and Kh-101 missiles have performed well. These are new, state-of-the-art highly efficient weapons, and now we see it, " Putin said.

"These weapons can be equipped with both conventional and special, even nuclear, warheads. Naturally, such weapons will not be needed in anti-terrorist efforts and I hope they will not be needed at all." Moreover, the black box of the downed Russian Su-24 warplane in late November was presented to Putin at the meeting.

"As I understand, the flight data recorder will give us the opportunity to confirm the Su-24's trajectory from the moment of its take-off to its crash," Putin said. "This means we will be able to understand where it was (at the moment of the downing) and where the treacherous strike from the Turkish Air Force was conducted."

Putin urged a "thorough, attentive and high-professional" study of the flight recorder with international experts, inviting "anybody who would like to join." The Su-24 was shot down on November 24 by Turkey over purported airspace violation of Turkey by the Russian fighter jet and ignorance of multiple warnings, while Russia insisted the Su-24 flew over Syrian skies during the whole flight.

According to Putin, the information obtained from the flight recorder would not change Russia's attitude to what the Turkish authorities did. "I repeat that we used to regard Turkey not only as a friendly country also as an ally in fighting terrorism. No one expected such a mean and treacherous stab in the back," Putin said.

Ties between Moscow and Ankara worsened drastically after the incident, with Russia imposing a series of sanctions on Turkey and calling off its military contacts with Turkey.

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