The Israel-Hamas conflict is set to take a dangerous turn with Russia’s paramilitary, Wagner Group, announcing its interest in providing high-tech air defence support to Hezbollah, according to a new report.
A man mounts a flag of Wagner group on top of an old tank exhibited at the Leninist Komsomol park in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on October 1, 2023, (Photo by STRINGER / AFP)(AFP)
Two US officials have confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that Wagner intends to send Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group the Russian SA-22 Greyhound system. This is a surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery to intercept aircraft.
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Hezbollah, is an Iran-backed terrorist group that’s based in Lebanon. It has been exchanging fire with Israeli forces across the country’s northern border while Israel wages a ground and air war against Hamas in the southern enclave of Gaza.
The Greyhound anti-aircraft system, or what Russia calls the Pantsir-S1, is expected to give Hezbollah advanced capabilities to repel Israeli aircraft, cruise missiles, and precision munitions.
WSJ quoted Pentagon spokesman, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, that the report was ‘very concerning’, if true.
It’s still uncertain whether the anti-aircraft system has already been delivered. However, officials are monitoring talks between Wagner and Hezbollah, and considered the issue one of major concern.
Wagner Group had launched a failed mutiny against Russian leader Vladimir Putin in June. It is a state-financed private military company previously led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who died later in a plane crash
What is Russian SA-22 Greyhound system
Comprising a missile launcher, radar truck, and command post, the SA-22 Greyhound is engineered to provide point air defence against both manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as certain types of missiles.
Its deployment has raised concerns in the context of regional conflicts, particularly along Israel’s northern border, where tensions persist with groups like Hezbollah. This high-tech system has the potential to significantly impact the dynamics of modern warfare, enhancing the air defense capabilities of the groups or nations that possess it.
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