Russian Defense Ministry and Pentagon deny conflict between military of their countries, but facts speak differently.
Over the entire history of its existence, the United States has sent its army to different parts of the planet more than two hundred times to participate in armed conflicts, while it has never entered into direct confrontation with the Russian (Soviet) army. It is in direct battle. The intervention during the Civil War in Russia, when US forces, together with Great Britain and France, landed in Arkhangelsk and Murmansk, and together with the Japanese in Vladivostok, is not counted. The forces of the Americans were limited (in Murmansk, for example, in 1918 only 100 soldiers left the Olympia cruiser) and they did not take part in the hostilities, and soon they left home altogether. In the Korean War (1950−1953), as well as in Vietnam, where the US Army was located from 1965 to 1975, the Soviet Army did not officially participate. Nevertheless, it actively used aircraft and air defense against the US Army, which helped the DPRK and Vietnamese armies achieve certain superiority. In Afghanistan (1979−1989), American military advisers assisted the Mujahideen in the war against the Soviet military contingent.
A direct armed conflict between Russia and the United States, despite a rather hostile attitude towards each other and the existence of numerous contradictions, did not happen. Although it could. A sufficiently high probability of a clash between two “opponents” now exists in Syria, where each side has its own interests. Oil and geopolitics, spheres of influence are tied up there, and God knows what. In Syria, there are military contingents of the two countries, which are, figuratively speaking, on opposite sides of the barricades. And, according to the logic of things, between Russia and the United States in Syria it was necessary to “sparkle”, “go short” – two alpha males cannot get along on the same territory, someone must prove their leadership.
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As it turned out, clashes between Russian and American troops in Syria still occur. True, it has not yet reached the point of fighting and shooting. And both sides deny the facts of contradictions, according to military reviews. Here is the head of the Center for the Reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, Major General Yuri Borenkov said that “the military of Russia and the United States in Syria have a permanent communication channel, operate within the framework of the agreements, and there was no conflict between them.” So he commented on the message that the Americans prevented the Russians from patrolling in the Syrian province of Hasake.
Echoing the Russian general and US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Relations and Press Jonathan Hoffman, who made a statement about the shootout that allegedly occurred between US and Russian forces in the Syrian city of Al Hasakah. According to him, there is no information about events that can be characterized in this way. Hoffman added that “I’m only sure that the American and Russian military know where the forces of both armies are located and maintain constant contact.” He also stated that work is underway to prevent conflicts in order to eliminate misunderstanding and possible accidental clashes.
That is, neither the Russian nor the American military want to run into an open conflict in Syria. This is understandable – Russia and the United States are not at war, but only provide support to different sides of the intra-Syrian armed confrontation. The finger on the trigger, but to shoot at each other, this does not mean “support,” but openly fight. And here the military of the two countries try to show restraint, a sense of tact and diplomacy, as far as possible in the minds of military people who are used to winning, and only then hold negotiations.
The story of the “stopping” of the Russian patrol in Syria by the Americans also had its own backstory, which the authors of military reviews are actively promoting in the foreign media – the “detention” of a Russian major general more than a year ago. The Russian Ministry of Defense confirms that there was a similar case – 14 months ago in the Manbij region, when this Syrian city was under the triple control of a coalition led by the United States, Kurdish detachments and Syrian government troops, a convoy with Russian officers also went there. She was really stopped for inspection, but after identifying herself through the existing communication channels, the Americans missed the cars and showed no aggression.
Now, US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey, who told about the “interception”, without specifying the details of the incident, said that “everything was decided through military channels.”
This incident, for some reason, is now exposed as the “weakness” of the Russian army in Syria. Either ordinary American propaganda, or the desire to pit Russian and American military personnel, who already have no special sympathy for each other. However, the military of the two countries still has experience of cooperation, for example, in the territory of the former Yugoslavia as part of the international peacekeeping forces SFOR. There from January 1996 to 2003 in the city of Uglevik (Bosnia and Herzegovina) was the headquarters of the Russian 1st Separate Airborne Brigade. In the neighborhood, through the rivulet, a division of American troops was located. They rarely visited each other, as agreed, the Americans are always in a helmet and with M-16 on their shoulders (insurance required that the soldier be in full uniform), ours – in a vest and berets. The paratroopers were not frequent guests at the American Eagle Air Base in the city of Tuzla, where Russian transport planes even sometimes landed. There was no special friendship (it was from that time that the nickname “Pindos” was assigned to the Americans), but there were contacts, including in planning peacekeeping operations. Except in some cases, the famous march-throw of our paratroopers in Pristina, which discouraged the Americans and their NATO allies.
Then, on the night of June 11-12, 1999, after the Russian paratroopers occupied the Slatina airport in Pristina, the third world war could begin. Because of the brewing conflict with the British contingent, which the United States could certainly get involved in. It was possible that NATO could use weapons. However, this did not happen. This is how the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems Leonid Ivashov, who at that time headed the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, explains the development of those events.
– There were three counterarguments on the use of NATO military force against Russia. To make such a decision, the United States had to secure the consent of the NATO Council. And if the Americans managed to “push through” the bombing of Serbia, then the war with Russia is a completely different matter. If the Americans continued to insist, they would need at least a few meetings, which would give time gain for additional measures. And finally, in the event of a tense situation, it was planned to deploy the Yugoslav armed forces in the Kosovo direction. And then the NATO did not intend to fight with us, a similar decision would not have been supported by either the Germans, or the French, or Italians, or even the British. The United States, on its own, would not have decided then on a direct armed conflict with Russia. Moreover, we acted strictly within the framework of the international legal field, in accordance with a resolution of the UN Security Council.
It is likely that a similar situation is now in Syria – the United States does not want to turn this conflict into a clarification of relations with Russia. Still, it can be argued that some skirmishes between the military personnel of the two countries have happened, such as death of several Russian mercenaries from Vagner private military company. Too many interests intersect, but things will not come to opening the fire. Let s hope.