Russia’s foreign minister
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed international criticisms while The New York Times reports that Moscow sent “advanced antiship cruise missiles” to the regime Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”I do not understand why the media is trying to create a sensation out of this,” Lavrov said during a press conference with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “We have not hidden that we supply weapons to Syria under signed contracts, without violating any international agreements, or our own legislation.”
The New York Times reports that Syria a shipment of upgraded Yakhonts anti-ship missiles — to Assad, which Michael Gordon and Eric Schmitt describe as “a formidable weapon to counter any effort by international forces to reinforce Syrian opposition fighters by imposing a naval embargo, establishing a no-fly zone or carrying out limited airstrikes.”
“It’s a real ship killer,” which Nick Brown, editor in chief of IHS Jane’s International defence Review, told The Times.
Russia says it’s business as usual.
“We are first and foremost supplying defence weapons related to air defence,” he said. “This does not in any way alter the balance of forces in this region or give any advantage in the fight against the opposition.”
That last claim is certainly debatable, based on the assessment byt he Times.
Nevertheless, Russia’s latest moves — including sending their Pacific Fleet to the region for the first time since the Cold War — certainly reinforce Moscow’s support for Assad.
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