Moscow reaffirmed ongoing supplies of weapons to Syria even as U.S. reported new Russian missile deliveries. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the uproar in Western media over Russian arms supplies to Syria.
“We do not conceal it that we supply weapons to Syria under signed contracts; we are not violating either any international agreements, nor our own weapon export control legislation, one of the strictest in the world,” Mr. Lavrov said on Friday after talks with visiting United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“We are first and foremost supplying defence weapons related to air defence. This does not alter the balance of power in the region in any way or create any advantage in the fight against the opposition,” he stressed.
An unnamed U.S. official said on Thursday, Russia had delivered a new shipment of “killer” missiles to Syria. The 290-km Yakhont missile is the Russian prototype of the Indo-Russian Brahmos supersonic anti-ship missiles.
The shipment is apparently designed to provide additional firepower to the two batteries of the Bastion anti-ship systems with 72 Yakhont missiles that Russia supplied to Syria in 2011.
The U.S. official told The New York Times that the newly supplied missiles have improved radar guidance that enable them to better evade a ship’s defences.
Earlier this month, media reports said Russia is about to supply S-300 advanced air defence systems to Syria. Western leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during their recent visits to Russia tried in vain to persuade President Vladimir Putin to stop the supplies.