Russia denies supplying gunships to Syria


Moscow, June 25 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian ship — MV Alaed — carried overhauled disassembled helicopters to Syria and not new gunships as was claimed by western media, according to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“We are not going to make any excuses because we did not breach anything,” Lavrov said in an interview to Rossiya-1 TV channel Sunday.

“We violated neither international law nor UN Security Council resolutions nor our national legislation on export control, which is one of the tightest in the world.”

According to some western media reports, the Russian ship carried arms and ammunition to Syria.

“We supply armaments under contracts, which imply the purchase by Syria of primarily defensive anti-aircraft means from us, which may be needed only in case of an external aggression against the Syrian state,” Lavrov said.

“The contract was signed for the overhaul of Soviet-era helicopters, which were delivered to Russia and repaired and these helicopters were transported to Syria in a knock-down condition,” he said.

The helicopters became the centre of a diplomatic row last week, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claiming Russia was supplying weapons that would be used to massacre civilian protesters.

Lavrov reiterated Thursday that the helicopters were overhauled under a contract signed in 2008.’

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