After Netanyahu Visit, Russia 'Not in Talks' With Syria to Supply S-300 System

Israeli PM has lobbied hard to keep Russia from providing advanced anti-air system to Syria. Top aide to Putin now says Assad has all it needs

Noa Landau
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
FILE - The S-300 air defense missile systems drive during the Victory Day military parade marking 71 years after the victory in WWII in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 9, 2016
FILE - The S-300 air defense missile systems drive during the Victory Day military parade marking 71 years after the victory in WWII in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 9, 2016Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP
Noa Landau

Russia is not in talks with Syria about supplying the Assad regime with its S-300 advanced air defense system and does not think they are needed, Vladimir Kozhin, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was quoted as saying on Friday in the Russian newspaper Izvestiya. Kozhin oversees military assistance to other countries.

<< Major setback for Iran in Syria, but Israeli arrogance poses a dangerWho Is Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Quds Force that attacked Israel <<

The comments follow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Moscow this week, in which he presented to Putin "Israel's obligation and right to defend itself against Iranian aggression, from Syrian territory."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold portraits of their relatives who fought in World War II, on Victory Day, Moscow, May 9, 2018.Credit: Alexei Druzhinin/AP

The Syrian army has for years sought to obtain the S-300 system to counter Israeli air superiority, and Israel has in turn lobbied the Kremlin to refrain from supplying them. Iran received its first S-300 batteries in 2016, nearly a decade after Tehran paid for it.

Russia last month hinted it would supply the weapons to Assad, over Israeli objections, after Western military strikes on Syria. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the strikes had removed any moral obligation Russia had to withhold the missiles and Russia's Kommersant daily cited unnamed military sources as saying deliveries might begin imminently.

>> Syria blames Israel for strike near Damascus; 7 Iranians said killedIsrael's preventative actions thwart Iran's revenge from Syria - for now | Analysis >>

But Kozhin's comments, made so soon after Netanyahu's Moscow talks with Putin, suggest the Israeli leader's hard lobbying efforts have, for the time being, paid off.

>> Israel will bitterly regret Bibi's bad bet on Putin | Opinion ■ Trump quits Iran deal: A career-defining moment for Netanyahu that may have a price | Analysis >>

"For now, we're not talking about any deliveries of new modern [air defense] systems," Izvestia cited Kozhin as saying when asked about the possibility of supplying Syria with S-300s. The Syrian military already had "everything it needed," Kozhin added.

On Thursday, Israel said it had attacked nearly all of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory. S-300s could have significantly complicated the Israeli strikes.

The Israel Air Force said it destroyed five anti-aircraft batteries, all Russian-made models, in the attack.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed


AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op