Moscow’s year-long bombing campaign in Syria has showcased the “reliability” of Russian weaponry, as the Kremlin has helped stabilise the war-ravaged country, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Thursday.
“In that period we have managed to stabilise the situation in the country (and) liberate a significant part of the territory from armed international terrorist groups,” Shoigu told a conference.
“Many types of modern weapons produced in our country were tested in difficult desert conditions and generally have shown their reliability and effectiveness.”
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The comments come as international anger grows over Moscow’s air support for a ferocious regime assault on eastern Aleppo that has prompted accusations of potential war crimes.
The United States on Monday suspended talks with Russia on a ceasefire in Syria in protest at Moscow stepping up its bombing campaign.
Russia launched its military operation in Syria last September to back up long-time ally Bashar al-Assad to Western ire, helping to shore up the regime’s embattled forces.
Russia’s military has denied repeated accusations that it has struck civilian targets in the country during its year-long bombing campaign.
Moscow has used Syria as a testing-ground for a range of new weaponry including long-range missiles fired from ships, submarines and warplanes.
Those include the X-101 rocket that has a range of 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) and was fired from bombers that took off from bases in Russia, Shoigu said.
Built on the foundations of its Soviet-era predecessor, Russia’s arms industry is a key source of income for the country and brought in some USD 14.5 billion (13 billion euros) in 2015.