Russia says it will honor its controversial contract to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria.The S-300 systems have been described as state-of-the-art airplane and rocket-destruction devices. The latest updated version of the S-300, the S-300PMU-2, has the capacity to launch six missiles at once. Each missile is capable of knocking out aircraft flying at several times the maximum speed of the F-16 and F-22 fighter jets. The S-300PMU-2 also has the capacity to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, cruise and Tomahawk missiles.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Russian state TV Thursday that "we respect all our contracts and are honoring all our contractual obligations.
"As yet, the contracts are not finished, they have not been delivered in full," he added.
Russia last month acknowledged it has agreed to sell Syria advanced S-300 air-defense missiles, which are considered to be the cutting edge in aircraft interception technology.
Russia has stood by Syrian President Bashar Assad during the two-year civil war, blocking several U.N. resolutions and calls for his ouster. The death toll from the conflict is at least 93,000.
In short, the S-300 missiles give the Syrian regime an incredible weapon that is capable of knocking out the most advanced military aircraft and missiles.
Last month, various media outlets quoted Syrian President, Bashar Assad, as saying that Syria had already received the first shipment of S-300 rockets from Russia. Other media sources report that, as of yet, Syria has not received any of the S-300's. While other media outlets have reported that Syria might have received some components of the S-300 systems. And, as noted earlier via Fox News, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Russian state TV on Thursday that, "As yet, the contracts are not finished, they have not been delivered IN FULL", which would seem to suggest that, while the S-300's "have not been delivered IN FULL", they HAVE been delivered....
Whether Syria has actually received the S-300's from Russia, or some of the S-300's, or some of the components of the S-300 system, is not clear. However, Mr. Lavrov's quote, and the quote attributed to Bashar Assad, would seem to confirm that deliveries were made.
Nevertheless, the S-300 system aside, we do know with certainty - as I noted on Wednesday - that Russia, via its state-owned arms distributor, Rosoboronexport, is currently supplying the Syrian regime with various kinds of weapons. Rosoboronexport is also the arms firm that distributes the S-300 systems. It is also the same firm that has entered into a $572 million contract with the Obama administration for 30 Mi-17 military helicopters that will go to Afghan security forces. It is also the same company that has supplied Iran with various weapons, including surface-to-air missiles and aircraft bombers capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons. It is also the same firm that was placed under sanctions by the Bush administration, until 2010, when Obama decided to lift the sanctions. And, starting in 2011, Obama decided to enrich the rogue Russian arms exporter with lucrative military contracts.