Europe

Russian defense minister happy with results of Syria mission

FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 file photo, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shougu speaks during a meeting with senior military officials in Moscow, Russia. Sergei Shoigu told lawmakers Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, that the sweeping military modernization program will continue at a high pace this year. Amid tensions with the West, the Kremlin has continued to spend big on new weapons despite Russia's economic downturn. (Balashova Olga/Defence Ministry Pool Photo via AP, file)

FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 file photo, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shougu speaks during a meeting with senior military officials in Moscow, Russia. Sergei Shoigu told lawmakers Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, that the sweeping military modernization program will continue at a high pace this year. Amid tensions with the West, the Kremlin has continued to spend big on new weapons despite Russia's economic downturn. (Balashova Olga/Defence Ministry Pool Photo via AP, file)  (The Associated Press)

Russia's defense minister has hailed the military's performance in Syria, saying new Russian weapons have proven their worth in the conflict.

Sergei Shoigu told the Russian parliament Wednesday that the military has tested 162 types of weapons in Syria, and only 10 of them have failed to meet expectations.

Shoigu said Russian pilots have flown 1,760 combat missions in Syria since the launch of the air campaign in September 2015, killing more than 3,100 militants, including 26 warlords. He said Russia helped prevent the collapse of the Syrian state.

Shoigu said that nearly 90 percent of all Russian military pilots have gained combat experience in the skies over Syria.

The minister said that the military's special forces also have performed well in the conflict, targeting the militant leaders and helping direct airstrikes.