Russia's defence ministry said the Mi-8 military transport helicopter had been shot down after delivering humanitarian aid to the city of Aleppo as it made its way back to Russia's main air base in the western province of Latakia.
The Russians claim the helicopter was on a humanitarian mission. Delivering food.
While we don’t yet know which rebel group shot down a Russian military helicopter in Syria today, killing all five on board, photographic and video evidence of the wreckage reveals that what Russia is presenting as a pacific tool of humanitarian aid was in fact an assault craft rigged with rocket pods.
What was it?
The Mil Mi8-AMTSh, nicknamed “the Terminator,” is an assault variant of the veteran transport helicopter, equipped with multiple hard points for carrying missiles and unguided rockets. In several videos of the wreckage we can see a B-8V20A rocket pod.
Yeah, it's always safer to soften up the landing zone before bringing in the loaves of bread.
A Syrian rescue service operating in rebel-held territory said on Tuesday a helicopter dropped containers of toxic gas overnight on a town close to where a Russian military helicopter had been shot down hours earlier.
The opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) accused President Bashar al-Assad of being behind the attack. Assad has denied previous accusations of using chemical weapons.
The Syrian government claims that rebels used gas.
So a Russian assault helicopter was shot down near where a chemical strike was made, and the Russians claim the helicopter was delivering food.
You'd think the Russians would update their propaganda after 77 years:
In 1939 the Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, claimed the Soviet Union was not dropping bombs on Finland, but merely airlifting food to starving Finns. The Finns, who were not starving, ironically dubbed the RRAB-3 cluster bomb "Molotov's bread basket", and named the improvised incendiary device that they used to counter Soviet tanks the "Molotov cocktail", as "a drink to go with the food"
So Lavrov's bread baskets?
UPDATE: Russia denies using chemical weapons. Actually, it is far more likely that Assad is using them--as he has in the past, notwithstanding the glorious chemical weapons deal that Kerry negotiated with Lavrov to get rid of Assad's chemical weapons arsenal.
UPDATE: Ah, the effing Russians. They consider a body count a feature rather than a bug while backing poison-gas-using Assad, yet manage to project their crimes on America which has opposed gas use in Syria and which is obsessively careful about avoiding civilian casualties:
Russia's foreign ministry sharply criticized U.S. behavior in Syria on Thursday, accusing Washington of backing rebels who use poison gas against civilians and of killing hundreds in air strikes.
The ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, referred to rebels supported by Washington as "animals" and said Washington and its allies were recklessly carrying out air attacks leading to numerous civilian deaths.
The offensive to take Aleppo will no doubt plumb new depths of Russian murderous strategy.
Don't trust them. Ever.