A senior Russian arms export official said on Wednesday that since the contract to deliver Syria the air defense systems were signed before the outbreak of unrest in the country, Moscow is obliged to fulfill its commitments.
”Russia has obligations before Syria relating to old contracts, contracts that were signed in 2008 and were later followed by new ones on air defense systems. They are being fulfilled and they will be fulfilled,” AFP news agency quoted the Russian Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation’s deputy chief Vyacheslav Dzirkaln as saying on the sidelines of the Farnborough Airshow near London.
He stressed that the air defense systems were meant to protect Syria’s border in accordance with international rules.
“We are delivering weapons and military technology of an exclusively defensive nature,” Dzirkaln said.
Dzirkaln also said that Russia will not sign new contacts with Syria as long as the fighting continues in the country but stressed that the move does not mean a shift in policy or a decision by Moscow to comply with a Western arms embargo of Damascus government.
“One cannot possibly speak of us imposing an arms or military technology embargo on Syria,” Dzirkaln was quoted as saying.
Dzirkaln also vowed to complete the shipment of three repaired helicopters as well as elements of an air defense system to Syria, which failed to arrive at destination last months after a Russian vessel carrying the items was forced to return to its Arctic base over US and British pressure.
He said that Moscow was looking for ways of delivering the three helicopters “without any losses to us and without any provocations by the interested parties.”