[credit provider=”Wikimedia Commons” url=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dmitry_Medvedev_in_Syria_10_May_2010-2.jpeg”]
Russia will continue to sell weapons to the Syrian government, Reuters reports, despite opposition from the United States.”There were deliveries of arms to Syria last year, and there will be deliveries this year. They will continue,” Anatoly Isaykin, general director of Russia’s top arms exporter Rosoboronexport, told a news conference at Russia’s premiere airshow yesterday.
Russia is the world’s second largest arms exporters (after the United States) and Syria is one of the country’s best clients. Last week Hillary Clinton urged Russian officials to halt deliveries, arguing that the weapons are being used by Bashar al-Assad to quell anti-government protests, reports AFP.
The Kremlin says that sales to Syria are not in violation of international law and are not the cause of regional instability.
Naturally, this is about numbers. For Russia, now is not the time to be cutting off arms clientele. When the United Nations placed an arms embargo on Libya, it lost a customer worth $4 billion. It has been trying to make up the loss by selling to South America, Southeast Asia and Africa — most specifically, to countries that the United States can’t or won’t sell to.
Isaykin said Rosoboronexport would honour its contracts to Syria in full, which includes a Russian Yak-130 light attack fighter plane.