The Russian Defense Ministry releases footage of warships firing cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea towards targets in Syria. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The Russian defense ministry said on Wednesday (October 7) four of its warships in the Caspian Sea launched 26 rockets at Islamic State in Syria which hit their targets earlier in the day, a sign of its new military reach. The ministry said the rockets, which it described as Kalibr cruise missiles, had struck targets associated with Islamic State and Al-Nusra. The rockets would have passed over Iran and Iraq to reach their targets, covering what Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu described as a distance of almost 1,500 kilometres (900 miles), the latest display of Russian military power at a time when relations with the West are at a post-Cold War low over Ukraine. Footage released by the ministry claimed to show a series of missiles being fired from warships in the Caspian Sea, accompanied with computer generated graphics to display the high precision technology involved. The air campaign in Syria has caught Washington and its allies on the back foot and alarmed Syria's northern neighbour Turkey, which says its airspace has been repeatedly violated by Russian jets. Russia started its air campaign in Syria saying it would target militant group Islamic State. But its planes have also bombed other rebel groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's ally. Western countries, Arab states and Turkey, who are waging their own bombing campaign against Islamic State but also want Assad to leave power, say Moscow is using Islamic State as a pretext to target Assad's other foes. Russia says the Assad government should be the centrepiece of international efforts to combat extremism. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday it was too early to talk about the results of Russia's operations in Syria and ordered his defence minister to continue cooperation with the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq on Syria. On Wednesday the Syrian army and allied militia carried out ground attacks on insurgent positions in Syria backed by Russian air strikes. Putin also said that French President France Hollande had voiced the idea of uniting Assad's forces with the so-called Free Syrian Army to fight Islamic State. But a source close to Hollande denied he had said this.