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MOSCOW, June 15 (Itar-Tass) — Russia does not deliver helicopter gunships to Syria, a diplomatic source in the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
“As it was already stated Russia does not make new supplies of helicopter gunships produced in Russia to Syria. All military-technical cooperation with Syria is limited to the handover of defensive facilities. As for helicopters, the planned repairs was made earlier for the helicopters, which were delivered in Syria many years ago,” the diplomatic source said in comments on some media reports about alleged supplies of Russian helicopter gunships Mi-25 to Syria.
Russia “is about to complete the fulfilment of the previously signed and paid contracts,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference in Tehran earlier this week. “All these contracts envisage the supplies of the air defence systems. Supplying weapons to Syria, Russia does not violate any international agreements and the Russian export legislation, which is one of the toughest in the world according to a common view,” Lavrov noted.
Lavrov emphasized that after Clinton’s statement on Russian alleged supplies of helicopter gunships in Syria the Pentagon stated that the United States does not have such information.
The Russian main arms exporting company Rosoboronexport reported that about 100 helicopters were delivered to Syria from the Soviet Union in the Soviet times.
The Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies told Itar-Tass that the helicopters of French and Soviet production that were delivered to the country in the eighties are operational in Syria. The assessments of the specialists in the centre differ slightly from the Rosoboronexport figures. They affirmed that a total number of the Soviet-made helicopters is estimated in a range between 100 and 200 helicopters. Meanwhile, the fleet of helicopter gunships Mi-25 (the export variant of the helicopter Mi-24) is within a range between 30 and 40 aircraft. The centre noted that Syrian helicopters are very worn-out aircraft, the flight worthiness of which does not exceed 30%.
The experts believe that nine helicopters of Soviet production were passed for overhaul from Syria to a Kaliningrad aviation plant in 2009. Three of them belong to the class of helicopter gunships. Meanwhile, judging on three years of overhaul, the helicopters were passed to the aviation plant in an extremely worn condition.
According to open sources, France delivered helicopter gunships SA 342 Gazelle, which can be used as military transport helicopters and anti-tank helicopters.