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Moscow Says 'Not Planning' New Missile Sale to Syria

Russia's foreign minister says Moscow is "not planning to sell" an advanced air defense system to Syria.

Sergei Lavrov responded to questions Friday in Warsaw about a Wall Street Journal report that said a sale of Russia's S-300 missile batteries to Damascus was imminent.

But despite denying reports of a new sale, Lavrov said Russia has previously signed agreements with Syria and "is completing deliveries - in line with the agreed contracts - of equipment which is anti-aircraft technology.''

Lavrov did not say whether those previous sale agreements included the S-300 missile batteries, though he said the deliveries were in line with international law.



U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday urged Russia not to sell advanced air defense systems to Syria, saying such a move would be "destabilizing" for the security of Israel, a key U.S. ally.

Kerry, speaking in Rome, said Washington "would prefer" that Moscow does not supply such assistance to Damascus.

Israeli officials have told Western news agencies they asked Russia to cancel the transfer of the missiles, which would boost Syria's ability to defend against any aerial strikes by Israel or its Western allies.

The Wall Street Journal report said Israel believes Syria has started paying Russia for the S-300 batteries and could receive the first delivery within three months.

Syria has blamed Israel for a series of air strikes that hit the Damascus region last week. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility.

But Israeli officials have said any military action is aimed at preventing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from transferring Iranian-made weapons to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which has called for Israel's destruction.

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