Russia presses ahead with Syria arms shipment 'to deter foreign intervention'
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris on May 27 (Jim Young/ Pool/ AFP)
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Russia is going ahead with the transfer if S-300 anti-aricraft missiles to the Syrian government, saying that they will act as a deterrent to foreign intervention, the BBC reported.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov claimed the missiles would act as a 'stabilizing factor' in the conflict that would dissuade foreign forces from joining the struggle to topple the Syrian president.
He said that the deal for the S-300 missiles had been signed years ago.
"We consider these supplies a stabilising factor and believe such steps will deter some hotheads from considering scenarios that would turn the conflict international with the involvement of outside forces," he reportedly told journalists.
Russia's NATO envoy, Aleksandr Grushko, said Moscow was acting "fully within the framework of international law", in pressing ahead with the deliveries.
"We are not doing anything that could change the situation in Syria," he said. "The arms that we supply are defensive weapons."
Russia also criticised the EU decision to lift an armd embargo on the Syrian opposition but keeping sanctions on the government intact, saying that the move damages prospects for a peace conference.