Two Russian servicemen killed in Syria shelling, defense ministry confirms

At the same time, the ministry denied Russian media claims that seven aircraft had been destroyed in the shelling of Hmeymim air base

(Sputnik) – The Russian Defense Ministry has refuted media reports about the alleged destruction of seven Russian military aircraft by militants during an attack at the Hmeymim air base in Syria.

Two servicemen were killed as a result of a mortar attack by militants on Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria on December 31, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.

“On December 31, 2017, after dark, the Hmeymim airfield suddenly came under mortar shelling from a mobile subversive group of militants. As a result of the attack, two servicemen were killed,” the statement said, adding that “Syrian security forces are carrying out measures to find and eliminate the militants involved in the attack as well as to enhance safety at the nearby territory.”

The Defense Ministry added that Russian aviation units in Syria were combat ready and continue to accomplish their assigned tasks in full.

“Reports of Kommersant [newspaper] about alleged ‘total destruction’ of seven Russian military aircraft at the Hmeymim air base are fake,” the ministry’s statement read.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant said earlier that seven aircraft had been destroyed and more than 10 servicemen had been injured as result of the shelling of Hmeymim base by terrorists.

The day before, the Russian Defense Ministry said that a Mi-24 helicopter had crashed on December 31 during a flight to the Hama airfield in Syria, with both pilots dying in the accident.

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