Amid Russia’s brutal bombing campaign against ISIS targets in Syria in what appears to be a revenge for bringing down a Russian plane, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend has blamed the U.S. for the plane crash, as a result of which 224 people died.
Moreover, Russian Internet authorities have banned more than 800 websites with terrorist inclinations and removed about 4,500 pages of illegal data, according to Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika.
“Since the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office was granted the relevant powers, access to over 800 online resources was terminated, with illegal information removed from 4,500 websites at our request,” Chaika said on Tuesday during a conference at the International Association of Prosecutors in the southwestern Russian city of Sochi
Chaika said that nearly 650 cases of Russians allegedly seeking to join terrorist groups abroad, including ISIS in Syria and Iraq, are under thorough investigation of Russian special services.
Russia has been bombing terrorist targets in Syria, which is mostly occupied by ISIS and Nusra Front militants, since the end of September. But with ISIS allegedly bringing down the Russian plane on October 31, the airstrike campaign has intensified.
Russia steps up its military campaign in response for plane crash
Russian brutal airstrike campaign against ISIS militants has intensified by a few times, destroying 448 targets in Syria in just three days. The escalation comes after an ISIS affiliate in Egypt claimed responsibility for downing the Russian plane, in which all 224 people on board died.
Russian jets destroyed a number of key terrorist group buildings in Syria, including strategic centers and one facility holding missiles. Moscow defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “Over the last three days, Russian jets made 137 sorties in the Syrian Arab Republic and destroyed 448 facilities of terrorist infrastructure in the provinces of Aleppo, Damascus, Idlib, Latakia, Raqqa, Hama and Homs.”
A munitions warehouse, which belonged to the terrorist group, near the Syrian capital of Damascus hosted makeshift unguided missiles. Konashenkov said: “In the area of Mont Mgar, Damascus Province, Islamic State’s warehouse of unguided missiles was destroyed. That warehouse had regularly supplied militants with unguided missiles that were used to systematically bombard the residential areas of Damascus.”
Russian jets also destroyed a mortar gun owned by the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda – Jabhat al-Nusra – in Latakia province, which is largely held by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army.
More Jabhat al-Nusra positions were reported to have been destroyed in Hama province, including a repair shop with military equipment and armored vehicles inside.
“In the suburbs of Zerba, in the Idlib Province, a large Jabhat al-Nusra command center was destroyed. The facility was established over the course of the last three weeks and it was well camouflaged,” Konashenkov said.
The spokesman explained a sudden change in the Russian ongoing airspace campaign, saying that ISIS has changed its tactics in Syria. “Armed groups aren’t acting as blatantly as they used to even a month ago,” he said. “They’re constantly changing routes for arms and ammunition supply, which are mainly carried out at night with all the necessary masking.”
Moscow believes terrorists brought down the Russian plane
After a week of U.S. and U.K. officials saying that it was ISIS militants who planted a bomb on the Russian plane that was downed on Oct. 31, Russian officials are now apparently convinced that it was a bomb that caused the mid-air explosion of Metrojet Flight 9268, according to U.S. intelligence sources.
The Kremlin appeared to have accepted the fact that terrorists, most likely affiliated with Islamic State (ISIS), are responsible for killing 224 people on board of the Russian airlines that was bound for St. Petersburg, Russia, U.S. intelligence sources revealed.
According to the Daily Express, U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted communications that indicate the Kremlin is now convinced the plane crash can be linked to ISIS.
The ‘terrorists to blame’ speech was once again given by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Monday, saying “it’s more likely than not that it was an explosive device on the aircraft” and “there’s going to be a high probability” that ISIS was involved.
Russia has shown its determination to wipe ISIS off the face of the earth by announcing that its airstrikes has hit 448 enemy targets in Syria in three straight days.
Russian state-owned TV puts the blame on U.S. for bombing the plane
Meanwhile, a notorious Russian TV news presenter and a friend of Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of complicity in the plane crash that killed 224 people on board, including 25 children and 7 crew members.
On Sunday, speaking on the popular Russian TV news program Vesti Nedeli. Dmitry Kiselyov said: “If it is really so [that ISIS was to blame for the downing of the Russian plane], a question pops up: why against Russia who has been fighting against ISIS for less than 40 days?”
He continued: “Americans, as the head of their coalition, have been bombing for two years and have completed over 60,000 flights [but] there has been nothing against them. No single terrorist attack,” according to an English transcription of the show.
Kiselyov then added that the American military can “easily find a common language with terrorists” when it comes to their safety. “They either buy or arrange some sort of swap. Like ‘we shut our eyes to something, and you don’t touch us.’”
Kiselyov reminded that it was practiced “for years” with Taliban in Afghanistan. So “why not repeat the experience with the ISIS, to everyone’s pleasure, through the mediation of Qatar?” he asked the audience.
He then went on with Moscow’s usual speech, saying that dividing terrorists into good and bad ones is a common practice for the U.S. “If it’s against Russia, it’s a good terrorist and even a democrat.”
Kiselyov also reminded that on Oct. 9, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter “predicted that Russia will have terrorist attacks and human losses in the near future.”
Dmitry Kiselyov is famous for saying in 2014 that “Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.”