Russia starts delivery of fighter jets to Syria

Russia has started delivery of top-of-the-line fighter jets to Syria under a new deal estimated to worth US$1 billion (€746 million), a newspaper said Tuesday - a move that is likely to vex Israel and the United States. The business daily Kommersant said that Russia had begun delivering five MiG-31E jets under a deal apparently negotiated during Syrian President Bashar Assad's trip to Moscow last autumn. Commenting on the report, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement that "all of Russia's deals in the sphere of military-technical cooperation comply with international law and Russia's obligations under various treaties and United Nations resolutions." He would not elaborate. A spokeswoman for state arms-trading monopoly Rosoboronexport refused to comment on the report.