Tuesday 15 October 2019

Russia defiant over reports it is supplying 'ship-killing' missiles to Assad

Tom Parfitt

Russia has remained defiant in the face of criticism over arm supplies to Syria after reports that Moscow was supplying improved "ship-killing" missiles to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, accused Western media of "trying to create a sensation" and claimed that no international agreements were being broken.

His comments came after the 'New York Times' cited US officials saying Russia was delivering anti-ship cruise missiles upgraded with advanced radar systems to the Syrian government, which is engaged in a bloody civil war with Western-backed rebel groups.

Military experts told the paper the enhanced missiles would be a "formidable weapon" if Mr Assad's forces wanted to hinder any future international efforts to impose a naval embargo.

Speaking from Sochi, Mr Lavrov said yesterday: "I do not understand why the media is trying to create a sensation out of this. We have not hidden that we supply weapons to Syria under signed contracts, without violating any international agreements, or our own legislation."

Russia has sent missiles to Syria before, but the new batch is said to have greater capabilities because of the better radar.

Moscow and Washington agreed earlier this month to arrange a peace conference to bring together both sides in an attempt to agree a transitional government. A US source said recent events would "set back" efforts to promote a transition. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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