Russia suspends delivery of S-300 missile systems to Syria

Russian official says Assad regime has yet to pay for arms.

 S-300 mobile missile complex  370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
S-300 mobile missile complex 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Russia has suspended the delivery of S-300 missile systems to Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed in an interview on Wednesday, AFP reported.
Over the weekend, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported the shipping of the S-300 missile systems, that were expected to be delivered by July 2014, have been delayed until 2015-2016 because Damascus has failed to provide payment for them.
“Supplies of S-300 are out of question until we see real money,” an unnamed source at the Russian military-industrial cooperation complex told Kommersant.
Putin told Russia's First Channel that some components of the S-300 systems were delivered to Syria, but that the rest would be delayed until Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime pays for them.Additionally, a shipment of twelve MiG-29M/M2 jets ordered in 2007, six of which were due to be delivered to Syria by the end of the year, will not be supplied before 2016-2017 because Damascus has only paid Moscow 30 percent of the agreed sum for the jets.
In May, Israel and the US asked Russia not to deliver the weapons system to Syria, but Russia said the missiles are defensive and needed by Assad in his battle against rebel groups.
The state-of-the-art anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems would allow Syria to create a no-fly zone, blocking the Israel Air Force from operating along the Syrian and Lebanese border, as well as complicating any possible US strike against the Assad regime. Putin said Russia may approve a military operation in Syria if evidence shows that Damascus carried out chemical weapons attacks, but only if the operation is conducted with UN approval.
"According to the current international law, only the United Nations Security Council can sanction the use of force against a sovereign state. Any other approaches, means, to justify the use of force against an independent and sovereign state, is inadmissible," he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.