The Russian and US forces are maintaining direct working contacts, despite the suspension of the bilateral memorandum on safe flights over Syria, Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Sergei Rudskoi said on Wednesday.
“Lately, we interacted under the memorandum on the prevention of air incidents. This is the document, which allowed making some separation in the delivery of strikes but the situation changed after the US delivered a strike on Shayrat [airfield in Styria]. Currently, this memorandum has been suspended. At the same time, we have direct communication telephones at the working level. This is done to ensure the safety of both the Russian Aerospace Force’s aircraft operating in the Syrian skies and US planes, the general said.
“We hope that we’ll be able in the future to settle contradictions and organize closer interaction,” the Russian general said.
The US warships attacked the Syrian air base of Shayrat overnight to April 7 with Tomahawk cruise missiles. Washington said the attack was in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian province of Idlib on April 4, putting the blame on Damascus for the incident. Moscow called the strike against Shayrat an aggression.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier on Wednesday the attack on Shayrat had created a threat for the Russian servicemen, which compelled Russia to take additional measures for ensuring the security of its grouping in Syria.