Russians Certain Giving Syria S-300 Missiles Won't Upset Relations with Israel

25 September, 2018, 02:38 | Author: Donnie King

"[Russia will] transfer the modern S-300 air defense system to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks".

Just minutes earlier Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Russian Federation will transfer the S-300 air defense system to its ally Syria within weeks, among a raft of measures to improve the country's ability to detect and repel Israeli air strikes. The supply of S-300s to Syria will "calm down some hotheads" whose actions "pose a threat to our troops, " he said.

Russian Federation launched its campaign in Syria to support President Al Assad in 2015, and though the involvement turned the tide of war in favour of Syrian government forces, Moscow has since tried to play a careful balancing act, maintaining good ties both with Iran and Israel.

'Russia in this case is acting in its interests only, these actions are not directed against third countries, but towards defending our own military, ' he said.

FILE- In this file photo taken on Saturday, March 4, 2017, The Russian Il-20 electronic intelligence plane of the Russian air force with the registration number RF 93610, which was accidentally downed by Syrian forces responding to an Israeli air strike flies near Kubinka airport, outside Moscow, Russia.

Israel has long lobbied Moscow not to provide the S-300 to Syria, fearing this would hinder its aerial capability to strike buildups of Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria.

"We think introducing the S-300s to the Syrian government would be a significant escalation by the Russians and something that we hope, if these press reports are accurate, they would reconsider", Bolton said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks through the porthole while aboard the presidential plane on December 11, 2017, during the approach to the Russian air base in Hmeimim in the northwestern Syrian province of Latakia.

Russian officials said Syria's Soviet-made S-200 systems, one of which downed the Russian plane, weren't sophisticated enough to identify the Russian aircraft as a friendly one. Fifteen Russian crew members were killed in the incident, for which Israel denies responsibility.

The Syrian military has already been trained to use the system, which was set to be sent over in 2013, but was held up 'at the request of Israel, ' Shoigu said.

The Israeli military on Sunday rejected the Russian defense ministry's claim that it was entirely to blame for the downing of a Russian spy plane by Syrian air defenses during an Israeli strike last week, reiterating that Syria was at fault. It said that the Israeli Air Force gave the Russian side less than a minute's warning before their air raid, leaving virtually no time for any safety maneuvers. "Most importantly, we will guarantee the identification of all Russian aircraft by the Syrian air defense systems", Shoigu said.

Nevertheless, the Israeli military said that it would continue to operate against Iran and Hezbollah in Syria and that it hoped its coordination efforts with Russian Federation continued.


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