Russian mercenary boss 'spoke to Kremlin' before attacking U.S. allies in Syria

The gadgets cost £18,500 each and have been battle-tested in Syria

The gadgets cost £18,500 each and have been battle-tested in Syria

No Russian official directly acknowledged that Russian citizens were involved until February 15, 2018, when Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that about five people who were "presumably Russian citizens" may have been killed.

"The addition of fifth-generation fighters into Syria would certainly not be in keeping with Russia's announced force drawdown", said Defense Department spokesman Eric Pahon. "They helped the Syrian army shatter large, well-equipped terrorist groups", Putin said.

First it was Russian mercenaries who were apparently killed in a February 7 clash with U.S-led coalition forces in eastern Syria.

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Russian Federation often uses Syria as a showroom for new hardware, and likely wants to market the Su-57, which is still a prototype, as having been combat tested.

As Pahon pointed out, stealth fighters would hardly be consistent with Russia's stated commitment to de-escalation, and they would also have little to do with defeating ISIS, or even the rebel factions still fighting against the regime of dictator Bashar Assad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) toasts with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu after a ceremony to bestow state awards on military personnel who fought in Syria, at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 28, 2017. Over the eight years that passed since it first took to the air, the Su-57 has been rumored to be plagued by cost and time delays, and so letting it show what it can do in real-time might just be a marketing decision.

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The fifth-generation Su-57 stealth fighter jets are fitted with a sophisticated avionics system and an active airborne phased array radar which allows the advanced jet to detect air, ground and naval targets at significant distances. "In a state that has huge budget problems and a massive military bill", the Su-57 functions as a prestige item, said Bronk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's combat efficiency and quality of weapons can be ranked the best in the world, which ensures the country's safety.

Last month, the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance said that the Russian air force has been tracking and watching how fourth- and fifth-generation USA aircraft perform within the Syrian airspace.

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The revelation that Russian mercenaries were killed stoked fears of an outright hostile confrontation between Russians and USA forces.

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