Report claims Israel requested Russia not provide S-300 system to Syria; Russia claims it has not decided whether to deploy system; Lieberman: What’s important to us is that the defensive weapons the Russians are giving Syria won’t be used against us.
A report Tuesday claimed that Israel requested that Russia not provide its S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Assad’s regime.
The report cited a “senior Russian official” who confirmed Israel made the request. Israel has not yet commented or confirmed such a request.
The development follows after reports from the Russian Kommersant newspaper last week that Russia intended to deliver the S-300 system to Syria, free of charge. It claimed that Russian defense officials threatened “If Israel decides to carry out rocket strikes on the deployment locations of the S-300, the consequences will be catastrophic for all sides.”
Russia claimed on Monday that it had not decided whether it will deploy the system, its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stating on Monday “We’ll have to wait to see what specific decisions the Russian leadership and representatives of Syria will take,” adding “There is probably no secret about this and it can all be announced.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Russia that Israel would retaliate if the systems were “used against us,” stating on Tuesday “What’s important to us is that the defensive weapons the Russians are giving Syria won’t be used against us. If they’re used against us, we’ll act against them.” Responding directly to the media reports over the past few days that Russia will supply the system in the near future, the minister responded that the reports were “unfounded” and that “One thing should be clear- if anyone’s shooting at our planes, we’ll destroy them.”
Iran confirmed it successfully tested its Russian purchased, S-300 system in May of last year, its Air Defense General Farzad Esmaili warning “The S-300 is a system that is deadly for our enemies and which makes our skies more secure.” Iran’s purchase was the result of an arms deal renegotiated before sanctions were removed from the Islamic Republic of Iran under the nuclear deal between world powers and the United States under the Obama Administration. Iran deployed the S-300 system to its nuclear sites for “defense purposes”.
The S-300 is a missile defense, surface-to-air system. It is capable of shooting 12 missiles simultaneously and can engage up to 6 targets. The system uses long-range surveillance radars to track its targets in a range of over 300 kilometers.
Photo: S-300 system, Wikimedia Commons, 2018.