Russia plays down significance of Syria arms sales

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Russia plays down significance of Syria arms sales

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Russia is reported to have sent advanced anti-ship missiles to Syria, despite pleas from Washington and elsewhere to stop supplying President al-Assad’s forces.

Officials in the US are quoted as saying the latest Yakhont surface-to-air missiles were delivered

Some observers think one reason Russia might supply advanced Russian weaponry would be to counter any Western intervention.

But Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he did not understand the fuss.

“We haven’t hidden the fact that we supplied Syria with arms as per a signed contract, neither violating any international agreements, nor violating our own laws that pertain to export control – some of the strictest in the world. And most importantly, we supply an anti-aircraft system, and it doesn’t create any imbalance of power in the region, or (give the Syrian government) any kind of advantages in the fight against the opposition,” he said.

He spoke as the UN Secretary General was in Russia continuing to push plans for an international conference on Syria, which would include government and opposition figures.

Ban Ki-moon called on Damascus to allow UN inspectors to investigate the reported used of chemical weapons.

“Our team is ready at any time. Within 24 to 48 hours notice, they can immediately conduct an investigation. I again urge the Syrian authorities to be flexible and allow our teams to have an on-site investigation,” he said.