(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
Russia Sets up Permanent Military Presence in Syria
Tuesday, 26 December, 2017 – 11:45
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as they attend the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. (Reuters)
Russia’s Defense Minister announced on Tuesday that Moscow has started forming a permanent force at naval and air bases in Syria, reported the RIA news agency.
The bases are located in Tartus naval facility and Hmeimim air base.
RIA news agency quoted Sergei Shoigu as saying: “Last week the Commander-in-Chief (President Vladimir Putin) approved the structure and the bases in Tartus and in Hmeimim (air base). We have begun forming a permanent presence there.”
The Tartus naval facility, in use since the says of the Soviet Union, is too small to play host to larger warships.
According to the RIA report, the agreement will allow Russia to keep 11 warships at Tartus, including nuclear vessels. The agreement will last for 49 years and could be prolonged further.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered on December 11 the withdrawal of his country’s forces from Syria.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MOSCOW TIMES)
Ivan Sekretarev / AP / TASS
Two people were hospitalized with serious injuries after a helicopter accidentally fired on bystanders at the Zapad 2017 military exercises, the online news portal 66.ru cited a source as saying on Tuesday.
The week-long drills in Western Russia and neighboring Belarus kicked off last week, with around 13,000 troops, hundreds of tanks, aircraft, warships and other military hardware participating.
The incident reportedly took place at the Luzhsky range near St. Petersburg either on Monday or Sunday. President Vladimir Putin visited the range on Monday.
The unnamed source told 66.ru that there appeared to have been a technical glitch on board “and the missiles blasted off on their own.”
“At least two cars burned down, two people were seriously injured, they are now hospitalized,” the source said. “The victims were most likely journalists.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said two attack helicopters simulated aerial reconnaissance and close air support missions on Monday as part of Zapad 2017.
Video footage accompanying the news report appears to show one of the helicopters misfiring in the direction of camera crews.
The Defense Ministry’s press service denied that the incident took place on Monday, saying “all social media messages about ‘rounds on a crowd of journalists,’ ‘a large number of seriously wounded’ are either a deliberate provocation or someone’s personal stupidity.”
“[Video footage] recorded an event that occurred at another time, when army aviation helicopter crews practiced ground attacks as part of a tactical exercise.”
The press service said one of the helicopters engaged a wrong target, adding that one truck was damaged and no people were hurt from a self-propelled rocket hit.