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Russia Ready to Deliver Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Syria

MosNews | April 26 2005

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov confirmed Tuesday that Russian anti-aircraft missiles will be delivered to Syria, RIA Novosti reports.

After the sale was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 16, the United States immediately warned Russia the deal with a country that the White House considers a state sponsor of terrorism could destabilize the Middle East region. Israel also expressed concern that Russian missiles would endanger the country.

The deal “will not upset the balance of power in the Middle East,” Ivanov said. He explained that the Strelets missiles will never be able to reach Israeli territory if launched from Syria. They are purely defensive and have only 5km range, he said.

Ivanov said earlier that the missiles cannot be used by terrorists because they need to be mounted on a vehicle, a patrol boat or a helicopter.

The Russian defense minister also pointed out that Israel noticeably surpasses Syria in its military ability, and so Israel should not object to the deal.