On May 11, aide to President of Russia Vladimir Kozhin told Russian newspaper Izvestia that there had been no talks over a possible S-300 surface-to-air missile systems delivery to Syria.
“So far, there has been no talk of deliveries of modern new systems”, Kozhin said.
He also noted that the Syrian Arab Armed Forces have “all they need”.
According to the Russian state-run news agency Sputnik, Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment Kozhin’s remarks saying that it would be wrong to connect those statements with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Russia.
“We never announced these deliveries as such. However, we said that after the strikes [by the US, France and the UK on Syria], Russia reserves the right to do whatever it deems necessary,” Peskov said.
Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 9. Following the talks, the Israeli prime minister said he has no reason to believe Russia will attempt to limit Israel’s freedom of operation in the region.
“I told President Putin that it is our right and indeed our duty to take any steps required for to safeguard our security interests,” Netanyahu told reporters on a telephone briefing from Moscow airport, minutes before taking off en route back to Tel Aviv.
Let’s take a look how the S-300 story has developed since mid April:
First reports about the possible S-300 surface-to-air missile systems delivery to Syria appeared following a joint missile strike by the US, France and the UK on the country on April 14.
On April 14, at a press briefing in the Russian Defense Ministry, Head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate Sergei Rudskoi told reporters that Russia could renew the discussions over supplying S-300 missile systems to Syria “considering the latest developments”.
On April 16, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said that Russia was ready to consider any help for strengthening Syria’s defenses, including the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems.
On April 23, Russian media speculated quoting military-diplomatic sources that Russia could deliver its S-300 missile systems to Syria “within one month”. On the same day, Lavrov stated that the issue of Russia’s supplies of S-300 missile systems hadn’t been decided upon yet. Then, Peskov refused to comment on the delivery, when he had been asked about the growing complexity of the situation and with the possible supply of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria.