Alexei Venediktov: “There’s still no answer to the painful question about the Iskander missiles”
A story about debris of the Russian Iskander missle found not far from the recently liberated Azerbaijani city of Shusha is being discussed for a few days. However, nobody has clarified the issue. On Friday, the senior staff officer of the Azerbaijan Demining Agency, Idris Ismailov, stated that a missile was launched from the Iskander ballistic missile system, and its debris was found distantly in 780 m from each other.
The story made big news as, according to Azerbaijani experts, it was concluded during checking an identification number of the missile (9M723) that the debris belonged to the Iskander-M missile system rather than to the Iskander-E, an export version, which was in Armenian services.
Citing his own sources, Alexei Venediktov, Editor-in-Chief of Echo of Moscow Radio Network, told on air that when Ilham Aliyev got information on the marking, he called Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone. “The marking on the Iskander missiles shows that it’s not an export version, not a version that was sold to Armenia or anyone else. 9M723 missiles are in Russian service exclusively,” Venediktov said.
In late February, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan stated that during the Second Karabakh War Russian, Iskander missiles in Armenian service didn’t explode “or exploded only 10% of them.” Venediktov commented: “When Pashinyan talked about Iskander missiles, everybody hissed him off, made a mock of him, especially Russian Defense Ministry. Putin said and Peskov repeated: “Iskander missiles were not used”.”
According to Editor-in-Chief of Echo of Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “failed to say anything” about the Iskander missiles at the summit of the CIS Foreign Ministers Council in which heads of Foreign Ministries of Azerbaijan and Armenia participated.
“As far as I understand, Putin ordered to figure it out… A launch of an Iskander missile is followed by a satellite. Nothing was launched from Gyumri base; at least, satellites (not only ours) showed that. I think somebody will have to answer the question: the military to Putin, Putin to Aliyev. As this is a serious issue, a painful issue. There is no real answer now.”