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How could Russia react to US strikes against Syria?

RUSSIA (OBSERVATORY) –¬†Two US destroyers, the USS Donald Cook and the USS Porter, could be deployed soon in the eastern Mediterranean to fire missiles against Syria. If Washington launched a strike against the Arab Republic, Russia would be forced to react in one way or another, according to the daily Gazeta.ru.

Gazeta.ru analyzed what could be Moscow’s military response to Washington’s possible actions in Syria. It is quite possible that Donald Trump has already made the decision to react to the alleged use of the chemical weapon in the Syrian city of Duma and that US ships are already taking a position to fire Tomahawk guided missiles.

The USS Donald Cook Destroyer (DDG-75), equipped with guided missiles, has been serving in the US Navy since 1998. Its home port is in Rota, Spain. This building took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom in spring 2003 and since 2014, this destroyer is attached to the 6th US Fleet (Mediterranean).

The destroyer USS Porter (DDG-78), in service since 1999, is part of the 2nd squadron of the Atlantic fleet of the US Navy. Its home port is located in Norfolk, Virginia. This ship has already participated in the strike against Syria on April 7, 2017 (after the alleged use of the chemical weapon by the army of Bashar al-Assad in Khan Cheikhoun).

The main weapons of the two US destroyers are Tomahawk sea-ground cruise missiles with a range of 2,500 km. In their conventional version, ships can carry 56 Tomahawk missiles, and 96 in their attack version.

If the US decides to hit the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia reserves the right to respond to any US strikes against Damascus and its agglomeration. As General Valeri Guerassimov, Russia’s first Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces in March 2018, said, Moscow will have to react if the lives of Russian servicemen in Syria are threatened.

“In Damascus, in the Syrian Ministry of Defense establishments and sites, there are Russian military advisers, representatives of the Center for Reconciliation of the Belligerents, and soldiers of the military police. In the event of a threat to the life of our soldiers, the Russian armed forces could respond – both against missiles and their vehicles, “General Guerassimov said at the time, commenting on the possibility of an American missile strike against the districts of Damascus controlled by the government army.

Yesterday, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassili Nebenzia warned the United States against the heavy consequences of a possible attack on Syria.

– Blind and attack –

In one way or another, Moscow will have to react because in case of inaction of the Russian contingent in Syria the losses in terms of image for Russia would be immense: the adversaries, the possible partners and the neutral countries will conclude that in such a situation, the Kremlin is unable to protect his ally. However, Americans must also be aware that they are pushing Russia to use its weapons. And in such a situation, the responsibility would rest solely on the White House.

If Russia opted for the use of force, it would have to neutralize the two US destroyers.

For starters, it would be necessary to use electronic warfare systems to scramble all electronic systems of American ships – that is, to blind them completely. The Russian army already has such an experience: on April 10, 2014, the famous USS Donald Cook had entered the Black Sea. A Russian Su-24 bomber with the Khibiny system had emitted so much interference that all the electronics of the American destroyer had broken down.

The Russian contingent would have such means.

When electronic warfare systems will decommission electronic systems of US ships, Su-30SM, Su-35S, Su-34 and Su-24M aircraft carrying air-sea missiles Kh-31 AD (NATO code AS-17 Krypton ) and Kh-35 (NATO code AS-20 Kayak) could attack the US destroyers directly.

Two impacts of Kh-31AD missiles with a warhead of 110 kg suffice to put out of harm’s way the destroyer class naval chain. The Kh-35 missile has a penetrating warhead of 145 kg. Its incendiary fragmentation effect ensures the reliable destruction of a destroyer. The warhead has a solid hull with relatively thick walls, allowing the body of a ship to be exploded indoors, causing as much damage as possible.

In addition, Bastion anti-ship systems with a range of 300 km have been deployed in Syria. It is unlikely that the US destroyers will be within range of the Bastions, but nevertheless the possibility of firing against US destroyers with anti-ship missiles must not be ruled out.

The White House urges the Kremlin to take radical steps. And responsibility for any incidents in the eastern Mediterranean will rest solely with Washington, Gazeta.ru concludes.