Israel has asked Moscow not to supply the Syrian military with advanced S-300 missile systems, according to a Russian diplomat.
An Israeli government spokesman declined comment on the claim that was made by the Russian diplomat on condition on anonymity.
Israel has made repeated efforts to persuade Moscow not to sell the system to Syria, as it fears this would hinder its aerial capabilities against arms shipments to Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. Israel has carried out scores of air strikes against suspected shipments.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Russia had not yet decided whether it would deliver the S-300 missile systems to Syria, but would not make a secret of the matter if it took such a decision, the TASS news agency reported.
Russia’s daily Kommersant newspaper, citing unnamed military sources, reported earlier on Monday that Russia might start supplying the anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria in the near future. The Kremlin declined to comment.
Kommersant said on Monday that experts believed that Israel would react negatively to any decision to supply the missiles and might bomb the area where they would be deployed.
Lavrov said on Friday that Western military strikes on Syria this month had removed any moral obligation Russia had to withhold the missile systems from its ally Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“We’ll have to wait to see what specific decisions the Russian leadership and representatives of Syria will take,” TASS cited Lavrov as saying on Monday during a visit to Beijing.
“There is probably no secret about this and it can all be announced (if a decision is taken),” added Lavrov.