MOSCOW - Russia has unleashed another barrage of airstrikes against targets in Syria, including the first combat launch of a new cruise missile from a Russian submarine in the Mediterranean Sea, the country's defense minister said Tuesday.
The Kalibr cruise missiles launched by the Rostov-on-Don submarine hit the designated targets in Raqqa, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir V. Putin. The submarine was in a submerged position during the launch, he added.
Putin noted that the new cruise missile can be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads, adding he hopes that the latter "will never be needed."
Shoigu said Tu-22 bombers flying from their base in Russia also took part in the latest raids, performing 60 combat sorties in the last three days.
He said the targets destroyed in the latest wave of Russian airstrikes included a munitions depot, a factory manufacturing mortar rounds, and oil facilities belonging to "terrorists."
Shoigu said the Russian military had informed Israel and the United States about the airstrikes before launching them. A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Russia notified Washington in advance.
The U.S. official said at least 10 cruise missiles were launched from Russian surface ships in the Caspian Sea and at least one missile was fired by a Russian submarine in the eastern Mediterranean.
While Moscow said its actions have been focused on the Islamic State, the U.S. and its allies have criticized Moscow for also striking moderate rebel groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia's Foreign Ministry also voiced concern Tuesday about the reported bombing of a Syrian army camp without addressing the U.S. assertion that Russia was responsible for the bombing.