US 'Not Involved' With Drone Attacks on Russian Bases in Syria - Pentagon
21:46 11.01.2018(updated 21:57 11.01.2018)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States was not involved in any way with the recent drone attacks on Russian bases in Syria, Joint Staff Director Kenneth McKenzie said during a press briefing on Thursday.
"I can tell you unequivocally that the United States was not involved in any way with the drone attack on the Russian base at any time," McKenzie said.
The US Defense Department said it would not comment when asked if the United States knows who was responsible for the attacks.
The Defense Department also refused to comment on whether Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford discussed the drone attacks during his phone call on Wednesday with Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov.
However, McKenzie noted that Dunford and Gerasimov had a very good discussion about the current situation in Syria.
"[T]he conversation that occurred yesterday between the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Russian [Gerasimov] and I think that was also a frank and very good discussion," Mckenzie said.
According to Mckenzie, the conversation on Wednesday is the highest level of deconfliction between the United States and Russia, but there are also other levels used by the military.
"The most effective level is probably the level in the theater where they actually talk about deconfliction details and I would tell you that certainly they probably asked us not to strike targets and we've done the same with them, so I think that process is actually alive and is generally effective," McKenzie said.
McKenzie added that overall, he feels deconfliction is an effective way to allow the United States to go after Daesh in the Euphrates River Valley.
The statements come after Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this day that he knew, who the perpetrators of the attack were, adding that he believed Turkey had nothing to do with the issue.
Following the attacks, the Russian Defense Ministry published photos of the drones, saying that the design used by the militants could only be obtained from a technologically advanced country, and warned of the danger of such attacks in any country in the world.
The Russian Defense Ministry said 13 drones were used in attempted attacks on two Russian military facilities in Syria on January 6. Ten of them targeted the Hmeymim air base and three were sent toward the Tartus naval base.
Three drones were taken control of and landed by the Russian forces in a controlled area, three other drones detonated after the collision with the ground, and seven other drones were destroyed by Russian Pantsir-S air defense systems.
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