West accuses Russia of double dealing on arms to Assad regime

Western diplomats have accused Russia of breaking a pledge to stop supplying arms to the Syrian regime.

The assurances made over a month ago were presented by British officials as a sign that the Kremlin was distancing itself from President Bashar al-Assad and his ruling coterie.

According to the Independent, the flow of arms has, however, have continued unhindered with the Russians stressing that there was no United Nations prohibition on supplies and it was simply fulfilling its contractual obligations.

America and European officials said that the Kremlin may now be preparing to send Yak-130 jets to Syria, which can be fitted with missiles to carry out ground attacks.

The Syrian regime has extensively used warplanes to carry out raids on heavily populated areas, leading to dozens of civilian casualties.

Russia’s state arms agency holds a 550 million dollars contract to supply 36 of the Yaks, which are trainers but can also be used on combat missions, the report said.

According to the report, last year, a Russian-operated ship carrying helicopter gunships and air-defence missiles was forced to turn back to Russia, after its British insurers withdrew coverage. The aircraft were subsequently sent through a different shipping company.

While the Assad regime continues to receive weapons, from Iran as well as Russia, a British attempt to provide military aid to the Syrian rebels failed at a European Union meeting in Brussels.

Russia has insisted that it is within its rights to keep arming the regime as there are no UN resolutions prohibiting this.

Anatoly Isaikin, the director of Rosoboronexport, said that in the absence of [UN] sanctions, they are continuing to fulfill their contract obligations.

He added that they were mostly shipping air-defence systems and repair equipment intended for various branches of the military, the report said.

However, it is the Syrian regimes air defences, overhauled and upgraded with Russian help, which have been a powerful deterrent against the West declaring a ‘no-fly zone’ of the type which, after it became a bombing campaign, brought down Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, it said.

Western officials also claim that Moscow has refused to provide full details of the contractual obligations they have to fulfill and there is also evidence that the regime is getting further Russian arms through third parties, it added. (ANI)

Leave a comment