ATHENS, October 18. / TASS /. Greece is preparing to conduct training sessions from Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM), stationed on the island of Crete. This was announced on Sunday by the Greek portal Ieidiseis.gr, citing verified information.
According to him, the S-300 air defense systems have been deployed in the eastern tip of Crete over the past 22 years and patrolling an area within a radius of 280 km around the island.
Their first practice sessions took place at a NATO training ground in western Crete in the suburbs of Chania on 13 December 2013, 14 years after they were deployed in Crete. Almost all the military attachés then serving in Athens attended that "historic missile launch". These days, the complexes are preparing for the second transfer to this range in early November for the second practice shooting, seven years after the first.
The TASS correspondent does not have an official confirmation of this information by the Ministry of National Defense of Greece and the General Staff of National Defense of Greece.
As noted by the portal, preparations for the second S-300 shooting practice coincide with prolonged tensions between Greece and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as with the recent test firing of the Turkish S-400 air defense system in the Black Sea region.
The S-300 PMU1 was originally acquired in 1999 by Cyprus, but due to pressure from Ankara, the rights to it were eventually transferred to Greece and it was stationed in Crete. The deployment of Russian S-300 air defense systems in Crete took place with the mediation and consent of the Americans, who were informed of their transfer. According to the portal, the anti-aircraft "umbrella" covering Crete consists mainly of the S-300, as well as Russian short-range anti-aircraft systems (TOP M-1 and OSA). Russian missiles in Crete also provide security for the American base at Souda on the island. According to the portal, "the difference between the Greek S-300 and the Turkish S-400 is that Greece has the consent of the United States for these complexes, and Turkey's missiles are their anathema."