President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday defended Russian arms sales to the Syrian government but said Moscow had not yet delivered advanced S-300 air defense systems to Damascus.

Putin told a news conference after a summit with European Union leaders that Russia did not want to upset the military balance in the region and all its arms sales to Syria were in line with international law.  

He also praised the S-300 missiles system as one of the best in the world but added: "The contract was signed several years ago. It has not been fulfilled yet."

The Russian President Vladimir Putin also said the news conference that any attempt at foreign military intervention in Syria was doomed to fail and would make the situation worse.

Putin said Russia was disappointed by an EU decision not to extend an embargo on member states arming rebel forces fighting the Syrian government.      

Last month Syrian President Bashar Assad told Lebanese news outlet Al-Manar that Syria had received a first shipment of S-300 missiles from Russia under a deal signed before the current conflict raging in his country. 

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Officials in Israel say the S-300 could reach deep into the Jewish state and threaten flights over its main commercial airport near Tel Aviv. 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had personally asked Putin not to deliver the missiles when he visited Moscow last month.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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