Undeterred by pleas and warnings from Israel, Russia made clear on Thursday that it will go ahead with its planned delivery of a highly sophisticated air-defense system to Syria’s President Bashar Assad.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in an emergency face-to-face meeting on Tuesday that Moscow’s sale of the S-300 missile defense system to Assad could push the Middle East into war.
But Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, evidently unmoved by the dramatic Israeli warning, declared on Thursday that while Moscow was “not signing any new deals,” it would honor existing contracts with Syria, including for the air-defense systems. “We’ve already carried out some of the deal,” Lavrov said, “and we will carry the rest of it out in full.”
A failure to honor signed contracts, Lavrov added in a television interview, would “harm the credibility” of Russia in other arms-sales contracts.