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Russian FM: S-300 surface-to-air missile batteries delivered to Syria

"The measures will be devoted to ensuring 100 percent safety and security of our men"
By Anna Ahronheim
Russia has started delivering S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syrian forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.
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Speaking at a news conference at the United Nations in New York, Lavrov said that the "the delivery started already" and that the measure had been taken following the downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane over Syria."As President [Vladimir] Putin said, after that incident ... the measures that we will take will be devoted to ensuring 100 percent safety and security of our men," he said.
Fifteen Russian servicemen were killed when the IL-20 was hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile off the coastal city of Latakia. Moscow has placed the blame for the incident solely on Israel and has accused the IDF of having endangered the lives of personnel in Syria during other military operations.

The incident has led to one of the lowest points in the relationship between Jerusalem and Moscow in years.

A high-level military delegation led by Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin was sent to Moscow and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Following the downing of the jet Moscow announced it would supply Syria with the advanced S-300 missile defense system and impose electronic countermeasures over Syria’s coastline which would suppress satellite navigation, onboard radar systems and communications of warplanes attacking targets on Syrian territory.Last week Russia’s Izvestia News reported that the first set of the Russian electronic systems have been sent to Khmeimim airbase in Latakia on a Il-76 plane would be used by Russian forces stationed there. According to the report, Russian President Vladimir Putin notified Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about the transfer of the systems on Monday during a phone call.

Both Israel and the United States have warned against the supply of the S-300, which according to Russia’s Kommersant newspaper would see four batteries sent to Syria in the next two weeks and another possible six to eight sent at a later date.

Netanyahu told Putin that the "transferring advanced weapons systems into irresponsible hands will increase the dangers in the region,” and US National Security Advisor John Bolton said the decision was a "major mistake" and called on Russia to reconsider the move.

Emboldened by Moscow’s announcement, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said last week that "Israel, which got used to carrying out many attacks under different pretexts, would have to recalculate and reconsider before attacking again.”
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