Netanyahu Warns Putin: Israel Would Destroy S-300 Missiles – Report
During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear that Israel would destroy a Russian delivery of S-300 missiles to Syria before they become operational, Maariv reports.
According to diplomatic sources, those present at the meeting, which took place in Russia last week, were “shocked” by Netanyahu’s frank language.
Putin explained that he must fulfill his contractual commitment to Syria so as not to tarnish the image of Russia as a credible supplier, especially after a similar deal with Iran was undermined by international pressure, Maariv reported. Putin alluded to a way to annul the transaction, if Israel or anyone else would purchase the system or “offer an alternative.”
During an interview Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that he had already received some of the shipment of S-300 missiles from Russia, and said that he was expecting the rest of the shipment “soon.”
On Wednesday Israel public radio reported that Netanyahu ordered his cabinet to stay silent on the issue of Russian S-300 missile deliveries after several high-level officials made public comments, including Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, who on Tuesday warned that Israel would respond if Russia delivered on its promise.
“The deliveries have not taken place, and I hope they do not. But if, by misfortune, they arrive in Syria, we will know what to do,” he told reporters.