Russia is open for S-300 air defense systems supplies to Syria after the April 14 missile strike on the country by the US, the UK and France, according to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The foreign minister cleared the Russian attutide on the issue in his recent interview to Sputnik:
Sputnik: Will we supply S-300 (air defense systems) to Syria?
Lavrov: The President spoke about this. We have no moral obligations now. We used to have moral obligations, we promised not to do that some 10 years ago, as far as I remember, at the request of our known partners, and we took their argument into account, that it would lead to destabilization, although (these air defense systems are) purely defensive. We nevertheless heeded their requests, but we don’t have this moral obligation now.
In the same interview, Lavrov also adressed the results of the April 14 strikes and the April 7 “chemical attack” in Douma that had become a justification of the strikes. According to Lavrov, the Russian military will release proof confirming its statement that 71 of the missiles launched by the US-led bloc were intecepted.
Sputnik: One way or another, this staged provocation [Douma chemical attack] ended up in massive missile airstrikes, and, it must be noted, a very effective counter-response to the attack. Well, this is the first such episode in the history of humanity. How detailed was the first notice of the planned missile attack and how early did Russia get it? Did we have an opportunity to draw “red lines” around some areas? Literally, “red lines” on the map? How decisive would we have been, if the missiles hadn’t flown to the areas we were informed about? Were we ready to shoot down the planes and sink enemy ships?
Lavrov: Before the plans for the strike of the Western trio started to take shape, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Valery Vasilyevich Gerasimov clearly stated that if any military action taken by the so-called coalition harmed Russian army forces, it would be met by a tough and clear response. And we would not only see the rockets, but also their carrier as legitimate targets. It was said clearly and explicitly.
And, by the way, I’m stunned how some of our Western colleagues and some of mine, too, and some of our mass media turned their attention to our ambassador to Lebanon Zasypkin, who repeated what the Chief of the General Staff said. They tried to put words into his mouth, that if just one missile flew over Syrian territory from the coalition forces, we would sink ships and so on and so forth. The Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov had only warned that this would happen if Russian forces were harmed. After this, contact was made at the top level in the army, at the level of the generals, between our representatives and the heads of of the US-led coalition. They were informed of where our “red lines” were, including the “red lines” located “on the territory,” geographically. And, in any case, the results show that these “red lines” were not crossed.
Speaking about the results of these strikes, they are also called into question. Our US colleagues state that all the missiles reached their targets, as did the French ones. Our General Staff has a clear picture; we watched everything in real time, live. We are ready to answer for the stats given by our military forces. If somebody states that all the 105 rockets reached their targets, they should present their stats. At least, proof that our analysis, our count has a basis in fact, which will be revealed by our military forces very soon, as I understand.
Sputnik: Very soon?
Lavrov: I hope.
Sputnik: 103 missiles were launched, 71 of them were shot down. Trump said that he called somebody to ask if all the rockets reached their targets, and the person on the other end of the line said “yes-yes, every one of them, Mr. President.” Whom could he call?
Lavrov: I don’t know whom, in such cases, the President of the United States calls. Our President doesn’t have to call — he’s reported to, when such things happen. And I would prefer not to meditate on the theme of relations inside the US Administration or how some officials in Washington treat the position and orders of their President.