Possibly seeking to de-escalate tensions in Syria, Russia will not provide Syria with the S-300 air defense systems.
By: JNS and World Israel News Staff
Russian officials on Friday indicated that they have changed their minds and will not supply the Syrian government with the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system.
Vladimir Kozhin, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin who oversees military assistance to other countries, told the Russian Izvestia daily that the systems are currently not needed in Syria.
“For now, we’re not talking about any deliveries of new modern [air-defense] systems,” Kozhin said when asked about the S-300 system.
Kozhin’s comments immediately followed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Russia on Wednesday.
Netanyahu, who attended Russia’s military parade commemorating its 73rd anniversary victory over Nazi Germany, sought to discuss the escalating situation in Syria with Putin.
A day later, Iran launched 20 rockets at Israel, and the IDF retaliated by wiping out nearly Iran’s entire military infrastructure in Syria. An Iranian version of the S-300 was destroyed in the strike before they had a chance to deploy it.
An operational S-300 could have significantly complicated Israel’s strikes.
Last month, the Russian military announced its decision to supply the Syrian military with the advanced air defense system, to the chagrin of Israel, which requested Russia not take this step.
Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The S-300 is one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world. Designed to intercept aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, it would significantly upgrade Syria’s defensive capabilities.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had issued a stern warning to Russia over the deployment of the advanced S-300 systems in Syria, declaring that Israel would view such a deployment as crossing a red line and would destroy the missiles.