Russia said on Wednesday it would fulfil a contract to deliver air defence systems to Syria and had no plans to impose an arms embargo on its Soviet-era ally despite growing pressure from the West.
“Russia has obligations before Syria relating to old contracts – contracts that were signed in 2008 and were later followed by new ones on air defence systems,” the Russian Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation’s deputy chief Vyacheslav Dzirkaln said.
“They are being fulfilled and they will be fulfilled,” he told Russian news agencies on the sidelines of the Farnborough Airshow near London.
“But we are not signing any new contracts at this stage,” the senior arms export official added in comments echoing ones he had made earlier in the week. Dzirkaln said Russia’s decision not to sign new contracts with Syria while the fighting continued in no way spelled a shift in policy or a decision by Moscow to comply with a Western arms embargo of Assad’s regime.
“One cannot possibly speak of us imposing an arms or military technology embargo on Syria,” Dzirkaln was quoted as saying.