Russia reportedly halts sale of MiG-31s to Syria

Moscow said to have stopped deal to sell 8 fighter jets to Damascus due to Israeli pressure.

Mig 31 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Mig 31 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Russia has put a stop on plans to sell MiG-31 fighter jets to Syria, according to the country's Kommersant newspaper. The plans were reportedly halted due to pressure from Israel, an unidentified source from the Russian defense industry said. "In a similar way, when Russia signed the deal with Syria for delivery of Iskander-E missile complexes in 2005. The Israelis put pressure on Russia, and the contract was annulled," the source was quoted as saying. A source at the Russian Defense Ministry, however, was quoted as saying that the deal had been called off due to a shortage of funds on Syria's side. The report added that Moscow had agreed in 2007 to sell eight of the jets to Damascus for $500 million. Syria, according to the report, still owes Russia $3.6 billion despite 70% of its debt having been written off in 2005. Last month, defense officials told The Jerusalem Post that Israel had decided to sell advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to Russia on condition that it would would not transfer the technology to Iran or Syria and would suspend the sale of anti-aircraft systems to these countries. Israel has repeatedly sought assurances that Russia would not sell the S300 missile defense system to Iran, a move which would severely impair any Israeli effort to attack Iranian nuclear facilities. Yaakov Katz contributed to this report