Report: Russia’s Deployment of Anti-Aircraft Missiles in Syria Not Worrying Israeli Defense Establishment
Russia has set up advanced anti-aircraft missile batteries in Syria that can shoot down planes as far away as Tel Aviv, Israeli news site nrg reported on Friday.
According to the report, the Russian army revealed to members of the foreign press that it had deployed the S-400 AA battery, known to NATO as the SA-21 “Growler,” at the Air Force Base in Lattakia. The system has a range of 402.3 km, and has the capability of shooting down planes at a maximum altitude of 90,000 ft. At that range, the SA-21 Growler can cover the airspace over the British Royal Air Force’s Akrotiri base in Cyprus, Israel and most of Syria.
Russian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented that the deployment of the S-400s was meant to deter US — not Israeli — activity in Syria. “We cannot remain immobile or to ignore [American] attempts to undermine our security,” she said.
According to nrg, the Israeli defense establishment said it does not consider the deployment of the S-400’s a breach of the military coordination mechanism recently established between Israel and Russia. Russia, it said, is permitted to arm itself, just as Israel is free to to operate in Syria without updating the Russians. However, the Russians have to give prior warning to Israel when they carry out operations near the Israeli border, to prevent alarm on the Israeli side.