Russia’s deputy chief of staff, Gen. Nikolay Bogdanovsky, accompanied by a large military delegation, arrives in Israel for a two-day visit on Tuesday, Oct. 6, to discuss increased coordination between the two militaries. However, Moscow seems to be sending Jerusalem an altogether different message: Friday, Oct. 2, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the surprise deployment of Navy cruiser, the Moskva, armed with 64 advanced anti-aircraft missiles S-300 ship-to-air missiles opposite the Syrian coastal town of Latakia.
debkafile’s military sources point out that Russia, without saying so publicly, has thus created an effective no-fly zone over most of Syria, most of northern Israel, including the Golan, as well as southern Turkey, for US aircraft based there for air strikes in Syria; Cyprus, the site of British air force bases; and Jordan.
Since 2012, The Obama administration has been discussing the possibility of establishing no-fly zones in northern and southern Syria on a number of occasions, but has shelved the plan whenever a decision was imminent. Now, with one move, Moscow has imposed a no-fly zone over Syria.
The presence of the wide-ranging S-300s means that the Turkish, British, Israeli and Jordanian air forces will need to coordinate their aerial operations in Syrian or Lebanese airspace with Russia, or face the risk of their planes being shot down.
In the view of debkafile’s military sources, the only aircraft capable of evading those advanced missiles are stealth planes. Neither the Israeli, British, Jordanian or Turkish air forces, nor the US squadron in Turkey consisting of F-16 fighters, have such aircraft at their disposal.
The S-300 has a range of 150 kilometers and can shoot down any type of missile, including cruise missiles, as well as planes.
Although Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during their summit in Moscow on September 21 not to allow S-300 missiles reach the hands of the Syrian military, he made no promises about positioning them on a Russian warship in the Mediterranean facing Syria and northern Israel. .
Our military sources point out that Russian air strikes have not been confined to any single area so far, but the injection of S-300s into the war arena widens the Russian air force’s options.