WARSAW, May 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has no plans to supply Syria with weapons beyond the current contracts that Moscow is honoring, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.
US officials on Thursday reiterated their call to Moscow to cut off arms sales to Syria, hours after media reports suggested that Russia was ready to sell advanced ground-to-air missile systems to the country.
“Russia does not plan to sell,” Lavrov told reporters. The Russian foreign minister said Moscow has been only fulfilling an old contract with equipment to be used in Syria’s defensive capacity.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Israel had informed the United States about the suspected sale of Russia’s S-300 missile batteries to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. According to the information the Israelis provided in recent days, Syria has been making payments on a 2010 agreement with Moscow to buy six launchers and 144 operational missiles for $900 million.
Commenting on the media reports, US Secretary of State John Kerry said “the missiles are potentially destabilizing with respect to the state of Israel.”
The sale of Russian weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been a source of bilateral tension between Moscow and Washington, with US officials accusing Russia of arming a regime the United States says is killing its own citizens in Syria’s raging civil war.
Russia, however, has insisted that the deliveries are legal under international law and that it is not supplying Syria, the largest importer of Russian arms in the Middle East, with offensive weapons which can be used to kill civilians.