Russia reportedly hit Islamic State targets in Syria with Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles launched from a submarine in the Mediterranean Sea.
Moscow’s propaganda machinery trumpeted Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s confirmation of the strike as the first ever cruise missile Russia launched from a submarine in combat.
“[The missiles] targeted two major terrorist positions in the territory of Raqqa,” he said. “We can say with absolute confidence that significant damage has been inflicted upon ammunition warehouses and a mine production plant, as well as the oil infrastructure.”
But this was just one of the many tests Russia has carried out in Syria to test and show off its new military capabilities since the intervention began on Sept. 30.
It appears, in Syria, that Russian President Vladimir Putin has found an opportunity to act as a savior, unlike in Ukraine where his forces have been labeled as aggressors and invaders by the West for more than two years.
Before the submarine video, footage of Russia firing 26 sea-based cruise missiles from warships in the Caspian Sea was shared widely across the country’s Ministry of Defense’s social media accounts in October.
Later in November, the agency posted a YouTube video showing Russian jets loaded with cruise missiles and bombs and launching massive airstrikes against alleged ISIS footholds.
However, despite the glamorous show of its military prowess in the Middle East, Russia has little to show in terms of success against terrorists.
In October, United States Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was quoted as saying that “more than 80% of the Russian bombs are unguided or ‘dumb’ bombs.”
Just this week, another senior American government official stated only 30 percent of Russian air strikes in Syria target ISIS while the rest are against opposition forces not affiliated with the militants.
In his annual state of the nation address a week ago, Putin didn’t really give a satisfactory overview of how well the campaign against ISIS is faring. There were no numbers, stats or figures. Just promises for future endeavors.
For now, Russia appears to be the only country benefiting from its military intervention in Syria.