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Russia Confirms Plan to Provide Syria with Air Defense System

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images(WARSAW, Poland) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was asked Friday about this week’s Wall Street Journal report that Russia is making good on a previously signed contract with Syria to provide advanced air defense systems, believed to be the formidable S-300.
Lavrov seemed to split hairs on the matter, saying Russia has no plans and no new arms sales to Syria. He did confirm, however, that they are carrying out existing deals, which would include the S-300 that was sold to Syria in 2010, but put on hold over objections from other countries.
“Russia is not planning to sell. Russia already sold them a long time ago. It has signed the contracts and is completing deliveries, in line with agreed contracts, of equipment which is anti-aircraft technology,” he said in Warsaw Friday, according to news reports.

Russian state-owned media are downplaying the remarks, reporting that Lavrov said Russia has no plans to provide Syria with illegal weapons, only defensive ones.
Lavrov did go on to note that such sales are not illegal under international law. Of course, part of the reason there is no existing arms embargo on Syria is that Russia has blocked efforts to impose one at the UN Security Council.

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