Russia has not yet decided on delivering the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria.
Following missile strikes on the Syrian government, Russia has considered the delivery of the S-300, a surface-to-air missile system, to Syria. Speaking on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that Moscow had not made a decision to supply the S-300 to Syria as of yet. He said, “I cannot say that this question has been settled.”
The foreign minister continued, “We know what Russian President Vladimir Putin said. He has discussed such matters with an official of our Defense Ministry from the standpoint of preventing a situation where Syria might turn out insufficiently prepared for aggressive attacks, like the one that occurred on April 14.”
Foreign Minister Lavrov referenced the April 14 strikes carried out by the U.S., U.K., and France, targeting what the three countries said were chemical weapons facilities around the capital.
Regarding an S-300 transfer, he said, “It remains to be seen what decisions will be made by the Russian leadership and Syrian officials. Apparently, no secrets are due here. All this can be announced.”
Immediately following the strikes, Russian officials suggested that the S-300 could be delivered to Syria. “I would like to note that a few years ago, taking into account a pressing request of some of our Western partners, we stopped supplying S-300 air defense systems to Syria,” the spokesman for the Russian General Staff, Sergei Rudskoy said. Following the strikes, however, he noted it is “possible to return to mulling over the issue, and not only with regard to Syria but also to other states as well.”
Foreign Minister Lavrov has noted there is no “moral obligation” for Russia to continue to withhold sale of the S-300 to Syria.
Damascus currently operates a number of Soviet- and Russian-origin air-defense systems, and has sought the acquisition of the S-300 for decades.