Below is the official statement of Russian Defense Ministry official spokesperson Igor Konashenkov in response to allegations spread by US presidential advisor on national security, Ben Rhodes, that Russia launched an airstrike on the humanitarian convoy in Aleppo on September 19th:

The seriousness of the charges voiced by the US President’s deputy advisor on national security, Mr. Ben Rhodes, who has accused Russia of launching an air strike on the humanitarian convoy in Aleppo, as well as leaks from the American side on the alleged presence of an Su-24 there, have compelled us to reveal delicate details of the tragic incident on September 19th.

I’ll start with the fact that the Ministry of Defense of Russia possess objective information on the control of the air situation on the evening of September 19th at the time when an airstrike was allegedly launched at the humanitarian convoy.

Russian planes did not launch any strikes in the area of Urum al-Kubra and had no plans to. There were no Russian planes in the area at all.

What’s more, on the evening of September 19th, over the course of telephone conversations, a US air force command representative in the rank of colonel was well informed by the Russian representative air group command at Hmeimim airbase. His name is well known to the American side.

However, on the same evening of September 19th, in this area, in the air at an altitude of 3600 meters and moving at a speed of 200 kilometers per hour was a strike drone of the international coalition that had taken off from the Turkish Incirlik airbase.

According to effective reflective surfacing, the aircraft was identified by our air control systems as an unmanned aerial vehicle of the Predator type. This aircraft flew into the residential area of Urum al-Kubra where the automobile convoy was several minutes before its explosion. The drone then left after around 30 minutes.

I want to emphasize that, as in the case of the tragedy at Deir ez-Zor on September 17th, when more than 200 people were killed and wounded as a result of a coalition airstrike, we did not draw any unsubstantiated conclusions.

For what purpose this drone was at this point at this time and what tasks it carried out are known by its commanders.

We will explain this especially for Mr. Ben Rhodes: this type of drone can not only monitor a situation, but can also launch direct ground attacks as well as launch high-precision strikes on land targets.

Now I want to particularly draw your attention to certain patterns. In recent days, unfounded allegations that Russia is launching indirect bombardments in Syria (for example, today in Khan Tuman) are growing exponentially. This trick is well known to all. Its motives are obvious.

Our Western colleagues are doing everything to “hush up” the tragedy at Deir ez-Zor by spreading information noise in order to intentionally divert the international community’s attention from the Jebat al-Nusra offensive on Aleppo and thereby cover up the United States’ failure to distinguish between moderate opposition groups and terrorists in Syria.


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