Top NATO General: Russians Starting to Build Air Defense Bubble Over Syria

Launcher and radar from Buk-M2E missile system at MAKS-2011 airshowWhile Russia’s stated goal in moving into Syria is to fight the Islamic State, NATO’s top commander believes Russia’s new presence includes the first pieces of an intricate layer of defensive systems deployed to hinder U.S. and coalition operations in the region.

“As we see the very capable air defense [systems] beginning to show up in Syria, we’re a little worried about another A2/AD bubble being created in the eastern Mediterranean,” said [NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Philip] Breedlove to an audience at the German Marshall Fund Monday….

A2/AD stands for anti-access/area denial….

“Russia has developed a very strong A2/AD capability in the Black Sea,” said Breedlove. “Essentially their [anti-ship] cruise missiles range the entire Black Sea, and their air defense missiles range about 40 to 50 percent of the Black Sea.”

“These very sophisticated air defense capabilities are not about [the Islamic State], they’re about something else,” said Breedlove. “High on Mr. Putin’s list in Syria is preserving the regime against those that are putting pressure on the regime and against those that they see who might be supporting those putting pressure on the regime.”

Related Experts:

Image: Launcher and radar from Buk-M2E missile system at MAKS-2011 airshow (photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin)