Russia will complete the delivery of anti-ship missiles to Syria this year and may sell more weapons to Israel's neighbor after assessing the impact on the regional balance of power, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was quoted as saying by the Bloomberg news agency Tuesday night.
Serdyukov returned to Moscow from meetings with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Both the US and Israel have expressed concern about the arms deal.
“A contract may not be signed in the end,” the Russian defense minister told Bloomberg. “We are conducting a serious assessment of how it may affect the existing balance of forces in the region. We understand that it would not be right to upset it. Therefore all these nuances and analyses are being thoroughly assessed.”
The Moscow-based Interfax news service reported September 19 that Russia intends to supply Yakhont missiles worth more than $300 million to Syria.
“The Israelis and perhaps to some extent the Americans voice apprehension that these weapons can somehow fall into the hands of terrorists,” Serdyukov told Bloomberg. “The contract has provisions for a series of controlling measures that will not allow for this to happen.”
Meanwhile, Russian Chief of Staff Nikolai Makarov announced Moscow will not supply advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran because they fall within the scope of sanctions imposed by the UN against the Islamic Republic.
AFP contributed to the report
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