The Russian Defense Ministry denied CNN reports that four missiles from a Russian ship in the Caspian Sea crashed into Iran instead of Syria.
“Unlike CNN, we do not talk or cite anonymous sources and our missiles struck their target,” they retorted on their Facebook page.
On Thursday, two U.S. officials told CNN that close monitoring showed four rockets landed in Iran. One could not confirm any casualties, but the other said deaths were a possibility.
“I can not say anything, but any professional in this field knows that in carrying out such operations, you always find the image of the target before and after the impact,” continued the defense.
On Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on television that Russia had expanded their campaign against opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, launching missiles into Syria from the Caspian Sea. Shoigu told the audience that four ships have launched 26 rockets so far. He claimed the missiles destroyed “all 11 intended targets” and were not “targeted at civilian areas.” Russia needed approval from Iran and Iraq in order to launch the attack, since the missiles travelled through their airspace.
“Therefore, no matter how distasteful and ‘surprised’ it is for our colleagues in the Pentagon and Langley, the strike yesterday with precision weapons infrastructure at ISIS (Islamic State/ISIL) in Syria hit its targets,” they wrote.
Russia and the U.S. agreed there needs to be more communication in Syria, but these accusations and denials “are a reflection of the lack of coordination between” the two countries. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in New York on September 28, but could not agree on a strategy. Putin insists Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is essential to defeat ISIS, while Obama and the majority of the world want Assad to go.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter lashed out at Russia from NATO headquarters in Brussels. He warned Russia they “would likely suffer casualties ‘within the coming days’ as it deepens its military involvement in Syria.” He also called out the Kremlin for “increasingly unprofessional behavior” when Russian jets violated Turkish airspace.
“We have not and will not agree to cooperate with Russia so long as they continue to pursue this misguided strategy,” he exclaimed. “It remains our hope that Russia will see that tethering itself to a sinking ship is a losing strategy because Russia has the opportunity to change course and do the right thing. I don’t know if they will.”