The US has criticised Russia’s recent delivery of anti-ship missiles to President Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria.
With a range of 300 km, the Yakhont missiles could threaten warships in the Mediterranean reducing the capacity of a possible Western intervention.
It comes just 10 days after Washington and Moscow agreed on plans to hold a peace conference. Top US military officer General Dempsey lamented the decision.
“It’s, at the very least, an unfortunate decision that will embolden the regime and prolong the suffering. So, it’s ill-timed and very unfortunate,” said the General.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday in the hope of agreeing on a date for the peace talks between government members and the opposition, but nothing has been confirmed.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated that the arms transfer to Damascus was not in violation of international law.
More than 80,000 people have died in the uprising and 1.5 million have fled across the borders.
The pressure is growing on world powers to find a solution as concerns grow over the exportation of the conflict to neighbouring countries.