The Russian Ministry of Defense denied reports of the destruction of seven Russian aircraft at the Khmeimim Airbase in Syria. At the same time, they acknowledged that the base was bombarded on December 31, and two Russian servicemen were killed as a result.
“The report in Kommersant about the alleged ‘actual destruction’ of seven Russian military aircraft at the Khmeimim Airbase is fake. On December 31, 2017, at the onset of darkness, the Khmeimim airfield was subjected to sudden mortar shelling by a mobile subversive group of militants. As a result of the shelling, two servicemen were killed,” reported Interfax news agency.
On January 3, the daily newspaper Kommersant, citing two military-diplomatic sources, reported that on December 31, militants fired on the Russian Khmeimim Airbase. According to the newspaper’s sources, four Russian Su-24 bombers, two Su-35S fighters and an An-72 transport were destroyed as a result of mortar shelling. In addition, the sources said that more than 10 servicemen may have been wounded.
On January 3, before this report appeared in the newspaper, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that on December 31, while en route from Khmeimim to another region of Syria, an Mi-24 helicopter crashed, killing two pilots and injuring the on-board mechanic. The mechanic was later evacuated. The Ministry of Defense stressed that the helicopter was not fired on, and that a technical malfunction was the cause of the crash.