Russia is not planning to supply Syria with any weapons beyond the current contracts that are nearing completion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said refuting speculations that Moscow was going to sell S-300 air defense systems to Damascus.
“Russia does not plan to sell,” Lavrov told reporters on being asked on S-300 air defense systems rumors. He stressed that Russia has only been fulfilling contracts that have already been signed with Syria for defensive weapons.
On Thursday the White House urged Russia not to sell weapons to Syria, saying that such assistance to Damascus is "particularly destabilizing to the region."
“I think we’ve made it crystal clear we would prefer that Russia was not supplying assistance ” to the Syrian regime in its war against opposition forces, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Rome Thursday.
The warning from the US came a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel had informed the Obama administration about Moscow’s alleged plans to transfer S-300 missile batteries to Syrian security forces, possibly as early as this summer.
Kerry did not directly respond to the report, but said the United States has repeatedly opposed arms deals in the past.
He reiterated the US position against transfers of missile systems to Syria because of the possible threat to Israel.
According to the report, Israel informed the US that Syria made
payments on a 2010 deal to buy four batteries from Russia for $900
million. That included six launchers and 144 missiles, each with a
range of 125 miles (200 kilometers).
Despite repeated accusations it has tried to deliver military
equipment to Syria, Moscow mantains that it is only fulfilling
contracts that are already signed, which are for defensive
Speaking to German media in Hannover in April, Russian President
Vladimir Putin responded to the allegations, saying that Russia only
“supplies the legitimate regime... This is not prohibited by
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has also insisted that Russia
has no plans to sign any further military contracts with Syria, and
now only honors old contracts, many of which date back to the
Following an incident in which a Russian ship was intercepted carrying helicopters for Damascus, then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed Russia for sending “combat” helicopters to the Syrian government, but later the statement was retracted, with the US acknowledging they were “old helicopters” refurbished under previous contracts.
Russia and the US have in a deadlock over the Syrian conflict
and thus far failed to agree on an approach to resolve the two-year
long crisis in the war-torn country. While Washington insists that
Assad and his regime must step down, Moscow maintains that only the
Syrian people should decide and foreign interference should not be
the determining factor. Russia insists that only direct talks
between parties involved in the conflict – the government and the
opposition – can bring an end to the fighting, which according to
the UN has claimed lives of more than 70,000 people.