The top U.S. general in the Middle East is casting doubts on reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking to Syria to send reinforcements to the war on Ukraine.
“We haven’t seen any large-scale efforts to do that,” Gen. McKenzie said Friday in a briefing to Pentagon reporters.
The general said his relationship with Russian military officials operating in the Central Command region — chiefly Syria — has been “brisk and professional” and was focused on avoiding any unintended consequences as both nations operate in a tense environment.
“They do have good equipment. We’ve seen first-echelon fighter aircraft down there,” he said.
What sets the Russian military apart from the U.S. is its lack of a capable corps of skilled noncommissioned officers.
“They’re the people who actually get things done,” Gen. McKenzie said. “That’s the one thing the Russians don’t have — that middle management level” of leadership.