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September 1, 2013 12:49 pm

Report: Russia Suspends Delivery of S-300 Missile Defense System to Syria

avatar by Zach Pontz

The S-300 anti-aircraft missile system at the Victory Parade, Red Square, 2009. Photo: Wikipedia.

Russia is delaying the transfer of advanced S-300 missile defense systems to Syria because Damascus has failed to provide payment for them, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported Saturday.

The deal, signed in 2010 and recently delayed due to U.S. and Israeli objections, saying the system’s range could reach deep into the Jewish state and threaten flights over its main commercial airport near Tel Aviv, remains on hold because Syria has so far failed to provide an advance payment, the report said.

“Supplies of S-300 are out of question until we see real money,” the newspaper cited an unnamed official at the Russian military-industrial cooperation complex as saying.

The S-300 systems were initially expected to be delivered by July 2014, but shipping will be delayed until 2015 or 2016 unless the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pays up soon, the report said.

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In July Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil expressed his optimism that a deal could be reached by year’s end, after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

“We discussed it, although it is still early to talk of concrete figures,” Jamil told Russian news agencies. “We hope that the question will be solved by the end of the year, experts are now discussing it.”

Jamil also confirmed that Russia was still committed to seeing through all previous arms contracts.

“All agreements between Russia and Syria in the area of arms deliveries are in place,” the Syrian deputy prime minister said at the time.

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