Russia now claims the US missile strike on Syria largely failed — and that it has captured US missile technology

Russian Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military’s General Staff. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
  • A Russian general said that only 22 of 105 missiles fired in a US-led attack in Syria earlier this month successfully hit targets and that Syria shot down the rest with old air defences.
  • He also claimed that US missiles were captured and sent to Moscow so Russia could improve its weapons systems.
  • The Pentagon forcefully pushed back on those claims, pointing to a lack of evidence on Russia’s side.

Russian Gen. Sergei Rudskoi on Wednesday made numerous bold claims about the US-led strike earlier this month on suspected Syrian chemical weapons sites, essentially saying the attack was all but thwarted by Syrian defences.

Rudskoi claimed that two missiles, including a Tomahawk, the US Navy’s cruise missile of choice, failed to reach their targets and had been sent to Moscow to help the Russians improve their weapons, according to NPR’s Moscow correspondent, Lucian Kim.

He went on to revise Russia’s initial claim that 71 of 105 missiles fired were blocked in the strike, saying instead that 83 missiles went down, with only 22 hitting their targets.

Finally, he said Russia would send S-300 missile defences into Syria in the “near future.”

In response, Maj. Josh T. Jacques of the Pentagon told Business Insider that Russia “should move humanitarian aid into Syria, not more weaponry.”

The US, together with the UK and France, had bombed Syria on April 14 as retaliation for a suspected chemical attack blamed on the Syrian government. The Pentagon has denied that US missiles failed in the strike or that downed missiles were captured, with the Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon telling Business Insider “both claims are completely and totally untrue.”

Pahon said Russia had yet to produce credible photographic evidence of downed Tomahawk missiles in Syria.

Omar Lamrani, a military analyst at the geopolitical consulting company Stratfor, told Business Insider that he had seen “no evidence whatsoever that those missiles were shot down” or captured.

Photos from the strike suggest Syrian air defences most likely fired blindly. The Pentagon maintains that no Syrian missiles intercepted any US or allied missiles and that most of Syria’s air defences fired after the strike took place.

Also, the Pentagon says Syria fired 40 interceptors, a number virtually incapable of downing 71 missiles, as it takes at least one interceptor to down a missile.

Justin Bronk, an air combat expert at the Royal United Services Institute, expressed doubt over Russia’s claims and said the remarks were “probably just posturing in this case to try and embarrass the US.”