Pentagon Claims Russian Trolls Spreading Lies in Wake of Syria Strike
Even as Russian officials threatened “consequences” over the U.S. attack on Syria Friday night, Russia is seeking to distort the reality of the attack’s success, ABC reported.
“The Russian disinformation campaign has already begun,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Saturday, according to NBC.
White said, “there has been a 2,000 percent increase in Russian trolls in the past 24 hours.”
On Friday, U.S. forces attacked three targets related to Syria’s chemical weapons program. Russia, which became Syria’s ally in 2015, responded with bellicose rhetoric.
“We are being threatened,” said Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., according to The Guardian. “We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.”
On Saturday, Russia downplayed the attack’s success.
.@mod_russia : of 103 missiles, 71 intercepted by Syria’s air defences. No serious damage at airfields. Two former industrial sites hit with no people or equipment in place.https://t.co/7g05zNTWoX pic.twitter.com/0qqNZ2Pfvu
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) April 14, 2018
71 of 103 missiles shot down? https://t.co/v8QkJjE24c
— NEWS MAKER (@NEWS_MAKER) April 14, 2018
As reported by The Guardian, Russia’s Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi claimed that Syria’s air defenses downed 71 of the more than 100 missiles launched by American air and naval forces acting with support from French and British forces.
He said the targets suffered only minor damage.
However, according to The Telegraph, Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Pentagon press conference that the attack was, “Precise, overwhelming and effective.”
McKenzie added that Syria launched 40 surface-to-air missiles, but most of them were fired after U.S. missiles had finished raining destruction down upon their targets.
Some on Twitter mocked the Russian and Syrian response.
Russia and Syria claim they shot down 201 of the 105 missiles we
fired at targets in #Syria. #SyriaStrikes.
— Todd Schnitt (@toddschnitt) April 14, 2018
Russia has also been aggressively claiming that the incident that led to Friday’s strike — a chemical weapons attack on Syrian rebels opposed to the government of dictator Bashar al-Assad — was the work of the British.
“We have … evidence that proves Britain was directly involved in organizing this provocation,” said Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian defense ministry, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
He said that Russia knew “for sure” that in early April, a group that works with anti-government elements in Syria was “under severe pressure specifically from London to produce as quickly as possible this pre-planned provocation.”
Britain has denied the claims, and the United States has said it has proof Syria was responsible for the attack.
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