Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has defended his country’s arms sales to the Syrian government and said the United States were arming those opposed to the Assad regime.
Lavrov’s statement comes a day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia of sending attack helicopters to Syria.
France joined the simmering diplomatic debate saying it wants Kofi Annan’s peace plan to be made obligatory describing the situation in Syria as “civil war.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said:
“The question is outdated it is not a question if one should sell arms to Syria, weapons are being delivered on both sides. About Russia, you have the official declarations, but from our direct and indirect knowledge weapons are being delivered.”
The French want Russia to agree to the implementation of chapter 7 of the UN charter, which allows the use of force and a no-fly zone .
The origin of the helicopters used in recent attacks by the Syrian government remains a bone of contention.
Colonel Viktor Litovkin:
“I am not sure that Russia supplied the helicopters. It could be anyone. There are around 9,000 MI8 helicopters in service. The aircraft can accommodate missiles and canons.”
Our Moscow correspondent says:
“Sergei Lavrov denied Russia sent helicopters to Syria, but said that Russia will continue to honour contracts signed and paid for by Syria. Russia has already sold Syria an air defence system to repel attacks.