Russia will keep its most advanced air defense system in Syria despite a planned withdrawal of the bulk of Russian forces from there, Sergei Ivanov, the Kremlin’s chief-of-staff, was quoted as saying Tuesday.
“In order to efficiently ensure security, including from the air, the most advanced air defense systems are needed,” the RIA news agency quoted Ivanov as telling reporters when asked if Russia would keep the S-400 surface-to-air missile system.
With a range of up to 400 kilometers (248.55 miles) the anti-aircraft system means Russia can control large swaths of the skies above Syria.
In a related context, Russia will continue striking terrorist targets, a deputy defense minister said at Moscow’s airbase in Syria Tuesday.
“It is still too early to speak of victory over terrorism. The Russian air group has a task of continuing to strike terrorist targets,” deputy defense minister Nikolai Pankov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies at the Hmeimim airbase where Moscow’s warplanes are based.