Russia Warns It Could Use Air Defenses Without Contacting US

Russia on Thursday said crews manning its advanced air defense systems in Syria will not contact the US if they use their missile system, a hint that it could target aircraft hitting Syrian government forces without warning. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the S-300 crews would not have time to use the line of communication between the US and Russia if it were to use its air defenses to protect Syrian troops, the Associated Press reported. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said on Thursday that the line of communication so far “has been effective in reducing risk to our pilots and aircrews as well as Russian aircrews.” The memorandum of understanding is an opportunity to avoid “misunderstandings and miscommunications” and the US urges Russia to use the line as much as possible, though “we’ll leave it to the Russians to participate in that as they see fit,” added Cook.