The unknown course of the (Greek) S-300: How they came to Crete from Cyprus

Perhaps most people do not know that the Russian anti-missile-anti-aircraft system S-300, which is installed in Crete, they also asked us (albeit unofficially) to send it to Ukraine. It is also very likely that you do not know that this system is considered by the staff to be necessary for the defense of our country and that there is no way we will grant it to Ukraine, unless, according to the staff, we are given a similar system.

After 24 years of being established in Crete, Turkey suddenly remembered the S-300 and falsely wanted to… “test” them. The complaint that Turkish F-16 fighters (i.e. fighters of a NATO member country) were allegedly intercepted by the S-300 radars (a complaint that was immediately denied by Greek military sources) had a double objective: Firstly, to highlight the fact that not only the Turkey as well as Greece has a Russian anti-missile system and it is active (after it “locked” Turkish fighters) and secondly it wanted to denounce Greece as being responsible for causing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean.

There is an unknown, almost mysterious story about the S-300s that were bought by Cyprus, but because of Turkey’s reaction at the time (because their range was long and their ability to engage multiple targets was also long which caused problems for Turkish defense) and with the “wish” of the Americans and with the consent of the governments of Greece and Cyprus at the time, they were transferred to Crete.

This mystery surrounding the (Greek) S-300s, reminiscent of a movie script, had as much to do with their transfer from Russia to Cyprus as with the first shot fired in front of the stunned Turkish military attaché, who only then did he “get to know” the S-300 up close and asked to be transferred to the rear of Crete without the S-300 “seeing” the Aegean or Turkey even from a distance.

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With the S-300, in 2013, the first and last test firing took place at the Crete firing range. Military attachés of the NATO member countries, including a Turkish colonel, were then invited as observers. The then GEETHA chief, General Michalis Costarakos, who was responsible for the shooting, asked, before the shooting, from Russian experts to certify that the projectiles had not expired so that the shot could be fired safely: “There was no chance of a shot being fired if the missiles had expired, it would be extremely dangerous”, said the then head of GEETHA.

Indeed, two Russian technicians did come, who, rumor has it, before going to check the S-300s and certify their missiles visited traditional Cretan taverns and duly celebrated the raki. No one knows (another mystery) with what sobriety they certified the missiles, but they gave the OK and the shot was fired. The test shot then made history, as a domestic record was set for the aerial shooting of a target at a distance of 30 km and at a height of 2 km! So it was a huge success, so much so that it worried the Turks who requested that the S-300 be moved to the west of the country and not facing the Aegean. But there was an intervention from the Americans who announced in writing that Greece can install this defense system in any location it deems suitable for its defense. Since then, however, the Turks had their eye on the S-300.

Mystery also covers the transfer of the S-300 in March 1999 to the port of Heraklion. There was a clear warning then that there was a risk of foreign intervention before the S-300 reached Crete. The General Staff of National Defense then drew up a secret (it couldn’t be more secret) plan, called “DIAS”, for their safe (and not only) arrival at the port. At the same time there had to be (also under the utmost secrecy) a plan for the training of the personnel in an unprecedented system that did not belong to the NATO weapons systems and that the training would necessarily take place in a NATO country by Russians. Turkey reacted with the arrival of the array.

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Even then, it sent its photo planes (Phantom) accompanied by fighters (F-16) to violate the national airspace and try to photograph the S-300. But their transfer from Russia also took place under mysterious circumstances. Since these Russian anti-aircraft anti-missile systems did not go through the Dardanelles, but were loaded onto three cargo ships that went around the Mediterranean (via Gibraltar) so that foreign forces would not take them lightly.

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