Russia’s S-300 Will be Able to Close Parts of Syrian Airspace – Moscow

On Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Moscow would provide Syria with the advanced S-300 air defense systems to boost the security of Russian servicemen stationed in the country following the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane last week.

Addressing the Russian Defense Ministry’s announcement on S-300 supplies to Syria, Vladimir Ermakov, Director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that any state had the inalienable right to provide defense industry assistance to its partners.

Russia’s supplies to Syria would be able to close the Syrian airspace where necessary, Ermakov elaborated, adding that the arguments of Moscow’s partners, who previously asked not to deliver the S-300s to Syria, had no effect anymore.

“There is nothing at all in the area of reduction of strategic offensive weapons, missile arsenals and nuclear weapons, but the Russia-US agreements. And the current situation allows to assume that the probability of concluding some new agreements in the coming years is not very high,” Ermakov told a press conference.

Responding to US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s remark that the S-300’s deliveries to Syria would constitute a “significant escalation” by Moscow, Ermakov stated the S-300 systems were meant for defensive purposes, and the US was fudging when saying that Russia’s supplies would violate its national security.

“The systems are purely defensive, so when the US says that defensive weapons are undermining its national security, it’s fudging,” he said.

In addition, Ermakov stated that those steps would lead to the stabilization, rather than escalation.

“In fact, such actions will lead to the stabilization of the region, because we will be able to close the airspace where necessary, and, first of all, our servicemen who fulfill their international duty at the invitation of the Syrian government will be protected,” Ermakov said.

‘Significant Escalation’

Ermakov’s comments came a day after US National Security Adviser John Bolton had said that the deployment of the S-300s in Syria would mark a “significant escalation” by Moscow.

“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. There shouldn’t be any misunderstanding here… The party responsible for the attacks in Syria and Lebanon and really the party responsible for the shooting down of the Russian plane is Iran,” Bolton told the press.

‘Adequate Measures’

On September 24, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced a set of measures to improve the security of Russian troops in Syria after the Russian Il-20 aircraft with 15 servicemen onboard was downed by the Syrian air defenses, attempting to repel an Israeli airstrike.

According to the ministry, the Israeli Air Force used the Russian plane as a shield while attacking targets in Syria and were fully responsible for the crash; Tel Aviv, however, blamed Damascus for the tragic incident.

“We are convinced that the implementation of these measures will cool hotheads and prevent ill-considered actions from threatening our servicemen. Otherwise we will have to respond in line with the current situation,” Shoigu stressed.

The defense minister also underscored the fact that 5 years ago Moscow had halted the supplies of the S-300s to Damascus at Israel’s request, but the situation has changed “through no fault of Russia.”

Addressing Shoigu’s announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that delivering such systems to “irresponsible players” would only increase security risks in the region.


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