MOSCOW, April 23. /TASS/. The question of providing S-300 air defense systems to Syria has not been settled yet, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the media in Beijing on Monday. Lavrov’s reply was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.
"I cannot say that this question has been settled," Lavrov said. "We know what Russian President Vladimir Putin said. He has discussed such matters with an official of our Defense Ministry from the standpoint of preventing a situation where Syria might turn out insufficiently prepared for aggressive attacks, like the one that occurred on April 14. It remains to be seen what decisions will be made by the Russian leadership and Syrian officials. Apparently, no secrets are due here. All this can be announced."
He warned there existed a certain risk of more provocations by Western countries against Syria.
"Certainly, one should be prepared to see more provocations, although we have warned our US and European counterparts who participated in that adventure," he said.
Moscow finds worrisome "the plans regarding Syria’s future our Western counterparts are hatching."
"Just recently I heard French President Emmanuel Macron urge the United States not to pull troops out of Syria even after the last terrorist has been eliminated or driven out of that country. The French leader was very close to saying foreign presence there should remain permanent for building new Syria," Lavrov said. "That’s colonial stance."
"We will ask our French partners what specifically they have in mind, because so far they have said at all levels that the US-led coalition in Syria pursues exclusively the elimination of the threat of terrorism coming from the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) and other organizations the UN Security Council has identified as terrorist. This is a very serious question. We will keep working," Lavrov said.
Earlier, the daily Kommersant quoted its sources as saying that Russia would provide S-300 systems to Syria on the disinterested basis. The newspaper said this would make it possible to create a multi-tier system of air defense in Syria capable of protecting Damascus and air bases from attacks. The Russian military command said such a decision might be made after the missile attack the United States and its allies dealt against military and civilian facilities in Syria.
On April 14, the United States, Britain and France dealt a massive strike on Syria without approval from the UN Security Council. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry a research center in Damascus, the headquarters of the republican guard, an air defense base, several military airdromes and military warehouses were among the targets. The Russian Defense Ministry said the attack lasted from 03:42 to 05:10 local time. Of the 103 missiles launched the Syrian air defense shot down 71. Three local civilians were injured. Washington, London and Beijing said the strikes were in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Douma on April 7.