Monday, October 12, 2015

In Putin's Own Words: Why We Launched Kalibr Missiles

Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin - October 2015
(credit: All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcast Company)

Today's broadcast of Voskresnyy Vecher [Sunday Evening] led with an interview with President Vladimir Putin that included a couple interesting items related to Russia's presence in Syria and the October 7 launch of SS-N-30 [3M14] land-attack cruise missiles.

[video time 02:00-04:05]
"I would like to confirm the fact, which is already known, that we warned our partners - our American partners, many other partners, especially those in the region - of our intentions and our plans in advance. There are those who say we did this very late. But I would like to point out that no one ever informs us in advance when they are planning such operations or when such operations begin. But we did... out of good will, out of expediency, and with the hope of showing that we are open to working together. I want to emphasize again that we are operating in full compliance with international law based on a request by official leaders of the Syrian Arab Republic. All other countries that to date have taken part in such actions are doing so illegally because there has been no resolution from the United Nations Security Council to do so, and there has been no official request from Syrian leaders. I would like to remind you that by the time our operation began, 11 countries had already carried out various strikes against Syria, in one way or another. And all this has been going on for more than a year. Understanding and knowing this, we informed our partners and recommended they work with us. The simplest thing would be to join our effort, thereby legalizing their own actions on Syrian territory. Because we have a mandate from official leaders, the simplest thing would be to join us and operate within the framework of this mandate. Unfortunately, we have not yet come to an agreement on this with our partners and colleagues. But we haven't lost hope that this can still be achieved."

[video time 09:49-11:37]
"Kalibr missiles: they have not been in service very long - since 2012. They have a range of 1,500 kilometers, as a matter of fact, which has already been stated. But these are, of course, technologically advanced, high-precision modern weapons. We plan to rearm the entire Russian military not only with these types of missiles, but also with this new generation of land-based hardware and aviation technology. These are truly complex systems, and, as their employment has proven, extremely effective... As you yourself said, [they flew] over the territory of other nations. Along the flight path, they made 147 turns, flew at altitudes of between 80 and 1,300 meters... at a speed comparable to a jet aircraft - everyone knows this. The thing is that this isn't classified information. In principle, all of our partners, at a minimum at the expert level, are aware that Russia has such [high-precision] weapons. It's one thing, at the expert level, to know that Russia supposedly has such weapons. It's another thing to be convinced that: first - they really exist and our defense industrial complex is producing them; second - that they are of high quality; third - that there are well-trained, well-prepared people who can effectively employ them; and fourth - that Russia has the will to use them if it satisfies the national interests of our state and our people."

It won't take long for others to see through Putin's own words that a driving factor for launching land-attack cruise missiles was, in fact, to prove to the rest of the world that Russia can and will carry out such launches if doing so satisfies Russia's interests -- despite the hefty price tag of the missiles.