YEKATERINBURG, June 4 (RAPSI) – The agreement to deliver Russian S-300 air defense systems to Syria has not yet been implemented, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
“The S-300 systems are, really, one of the best air defense systems in the world – probably the best,” Putin said on Tuesday during a news conference on the Russia-EU summit. “We don’t want to disrupt the regional balance. The contract was signed several years ago, but it has not yet been implemented.”
Putin also stressed that the deliveries of S-300s to Syria are legal.
“Russian deliveries of weapons to Syria are implemented on the basis of recognized and transparent international contracts,” said Putin. “They do not violate any international position. And they are implemented exclusively, and in their entirety, within the framework of international law.”
It was widely reported last week that Russia delivered the first batch of the S-300 systems to Syria under contracts signed with the Syrian government before the internal conflict broke out. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov would neither confirm nor deny allegations that the missiles had been delivered to Syria at a news conference on May 28.
S-300 missile systems, which are capable of simultaneously tracking up to 100 targets while engaging 12 at a range of up to 200 kilometers and a height of up to 27 kilometers, could dramatically raise the risks of a potential airstrike against Syrian targets.
Israeli jets have reportedly launched attacks on Syria, including the capital Damascus, several times this year. Tel Aviv said recent strikes in May were targeted at weapons being transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to Western news agencies.