Russia denies US claim that Syria-bound missiles crashed in Iran
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Russia's defence ministry denied a claim by a US official on Thursday that four Syria-bound Russian cruise missiles fired from the Caspian Sea had crashed in Iran.
"Any professional knows that during these operations we always fix the target before and after impact. All our cruise missiles hit their target," Russian ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.
The US official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the missiles landed in Iran on Wednesday, confirming a story first reported by CNN.
But he did not provide details about where they might have landed or whether they caused any damage.
Nor would the official say exactly what type of cruise missiles went down, except to say that they were among a salvo fired from Russian warships in the Caspian.
The White House declined to comment on the report and the State Department said it could not confirm it.
If confirmed, the crashes would be a blow to the military strength Russia aimed to display in launching what it said were 26 missiles at Islamic State group targets in Syria some 1,500 km (900 miles) from the Caspian Sea.
"In contrast to CNN we do not refer to anonymous sources but we show the path of our missiles and their targets practically in real time," Konashenkov said. “We show the launch of our rockets and the targets they struck.”
The Russian defence ministry posted a graphic on its website on Wednesday showing the missiles overflying Iran and Iraq before striking inside Syria.
Moscow says it shares the West’s aim of fighting the extremists, who have seized much of Syria, but fighters on the ground and western states have accused it of targeting US-backed rebels to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
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