Taken together, the operations reflect what officials and analysts described as a little-noticed — and still incomplete — modernization that has been underway in Russia for several years, despite strains on the country’s budget. And that, as with Russia’s intervention in neighboring Ukraine, has raised alarms in the West.
In a report this month for the European Council on Foreign Relations, Gustav Gressel argued that Mr. Putin had overseen the most rapid transformation of the country’s armed forces since the 1930s. “Russia is now a military power that could overwhelm any of its neighbors, if they were isolated from Western support,” wrote Mr. Gressel, a former officer of the Austrian military.
Russia’s fighter jets are, for now at least, conducting nearly as many strikes in a typical day against rebel troops opposing the government of President Bashar al-Assad as the American-led coalition targeting the Islamic State has been carrying out each month this year.
The operation in Syria — still relatively limited — has become, in effect, a testing ground for an increasingly confrontational and defiant Russia under Mr. Putin. In fact, as Mr. Putin himself suggested on Sunday, the operation could be intended to send a message to the United States and the West about the restoration of the country’s military prowess and global reach after decades of post-Soviet decay.
“It is one thing for the experts to be aware that Russia supposedly has these weapons, and another thing for them to see for the first time that they do really exist, that our defense industry is making them, that they are of high quality and that we have well-trained people who can put them to effective use,” Mr. Putin said in an interview broadcast on state television. “They have seen, too, now that Russia is ready to use them if this is in the interests of our country and our people.”
Russia’s swift and largely bloodless takeover of Crimea in 2014 was effectively a stealth operation, while its involvement in eastern Ukraine, though substantial, was conducted in secrecy and obfuscated by official denials of direct Russian involvement. The bombings in Syria, by contrast, are being conducted openly and are being documented with great fanfare by the Ministry of Defense in Moscow, which distributes targeting video in the way the Pentagon did during the Persian Gulf war in 1991.
https://www.endtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/15military-web-master675.jpg 450 675 alphatimes https://endtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/endtime-logo.png alphatimes2015-10-16 00:00:002018-03-28 16:53:21Russian Military Uses Syria as Proving Ground, and West Takes Notice