President of Russia Vladimir Putin: How is work proceeding, Mr Shoigu? You and I will have to discuss preparations for the annual meeting of the [Defence Ministry] Board on the year’s results, but now let us get down to our current matters, please.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Mr President, in line with your instruction, on December 5 we increased the intensity of our strikes and prepared and launched a massive aviation and missile attack using Tu-22 strategic bombers from the territory of the Russian Federation. For the first time we launched Kalibr cruise missiles from the Rostov-on-Don submarine based in the Mediterranean Sea.
Both the aviation and the submarine fleet were successful, hitting all the targets. The Kalibr missiles have once again demonstrated their efficiency at long distances. We tested both the launch of the missiles and their flight, as well as ensuring they hit the targets, which were two major terrorist facilities in Raqqah.
Over these last three days, Tu-22 airplanes have carried out 60 combat missions and hit 32 targets. All targets have been previously thoroughly scouted using all forms of intelligence, so we can say with full confidence that significant damage has been done to ammunition depots, plants manufacturing various types of mines and, of course, to oil infrastructure, in other words, processing, transport and shipping.
In addition, simultaneously with Tu-22 aircraft and the submarine, our airplanes from the Hmeymim airfield have been working for three days. We carried out over 300 sorties and hit more than 600 different targets. I must also say that your instructions have been fulfilled: Su-30 fighters provide air escort to absolutely all flights. This is also true of strategic aviation flying at high altitudes, as well as strike aircraft and bombers taking off from the Hmeymim airbase.
Vladimir Putin: And has the submarine made underwater launches?
Sergei Shoigu: Yes, Mr President, the submarine made underwater launches because in May you gave instructions to test our new weapons in all environments where it can be used – in the air and in water. We launched Caspian Flotilla missiles from the sea. Now, we have tried and demonstrated real launches of missiles from the Mediterranean against real targets. We warned our colleagues in Israel and the United States that we would conduct these launches today. Before that, this vessel made surface launches in the northern seas, the Northern Fleet.
From the Hmeymim airfield, we actively worked on territories where militants who shot our pilot are based. As a result, all these areas have been liberated, and the Syrian Army’s special operation forces…
Vladimir Putin: Searching for the crew?
Sergei Shoigu: Yes. The Syrian service members searched the territory, detected our aircraft’s crash site, and all these bandits were leaving so fast they did not have time to take anything from the aircraft, so we discovered a parametric recorder, which we brought here and which I would like to show you.
Vladimir Putin: With regard to strikes from a submarine. We certainly need to analyse everything that is happening on the battlefield, how the weapons work. Both the Calibre missiles and the Kh-101 rockets are generally showing very good results. We now see that these are new, modern and highly effective high-precision weapons that can be equipped either with conventional or special nuclear warheads.
Naturally, we do not need that in fighting terrorists, and I hope we will never need it. But overall, this speaks to our significant progress in terms of improving weaponry and equipment being supplied to the Russian army and navy.
As for the parametric recorder, let’s look at it now. Have you opened it?
Sergei Shoigu: No, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: I will ask you not to open it for now, and to open it only together with foreign experts and carefully record everything. As I understand, the parametric logger will give us the opportunity to clearly understand the full trajectory of the Su-24 from the location and moment that it took off to the moment it fell – its speed, altitude, all the turns made during the flight. In other words, we can understand where it actually was and where it suffered that felon blow from the Turkish Air Force, which we have now discussed many times.
And I want to qualify this right away. Of course, we need to know this information. But regardless of what we learn, our attitude toward what was done by the Turkish authorities will not change. I repeat, we treated Turkey not only as a friendly nation but as an ally in the fight against terrorism and nobody expected this treacherous stab in the back. But for ourselves, of course, we need to know everything in detail, what happened there. So we need to work with this device very carefully and thoroughly, at a highly professional level, together with international experts. In any case, we should invite anyone who wants to take part in this work.
We must certainly thank our service members in the special forces, the search and rescue unit, and the Syrian service members for retrieving this recorder, which will certainly help us determine what happened.