Russia Insider — Jan 12, 2018
In so many words Putin has said the failed drone swarm attack on Russia’s Syria airbase was the handiwork of the US. Speaking at a meeting with editors of Russian papers he said:
“Those were provocations aimed at disrupting the earlier agreements, in the first place. Secondly, it was about our relations with our partners – Turkey and Iran. It was also an attempt to destroy those relations. We have a perfect understanding of that and will act in solidarity.”
“There were provocateurs there, but they were not Turks. We know who they are. We know whom and how much they paid for these provocations.”
“We know when and where those unmanned aerial vehicles were handed over and how many there were.”
“Those aircraft were only camouflaged – I want to emphasize this – to look like handicraft production. In fact, it is quite obvious that there were elements of high-tech nature there.“
Putin says somebody is trying to set back Russia in Syria and handed over the drones, which were camouflaged to look home-made but are actually quite hi-tech, to the attackers for that reason. He also says this “somebody” is not Turkey — implying it is a different state actor.
If the attack had state support Turkey would be a prime suspect because it was earlier reported the attack originated from a village controlled by Turkey-linked Islamists. But if it was not Turkey, who does that leave? Putin basically spells out here the Kremlin believes it was the US.
There are two reasons why he would do so. Either the attack was sponsored by Turkey but he is trying to salvage the relationship, or else he is putting the Americans on notice not to do something stupid.