Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow has started delivering S-300 air defense systems to Syria's government. Lavrov was asked about the S-300s at a news conference Friday and responded: "The deliveries started already." He added that "the measures we will take will be devoted to ensure 100 percent safety and security of our men in Syria, and we will do this."
Russia announced earlier this week that it would supply the anti-aircraft missiles after Syrian forces responding to an Israeli airstrike on September 17 mistakenly shot down a Russian military reconnaissance plane, killing all 15 people on board.
The friendly fire incident sparked regional tensions. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Russian President Vladimir Putin to express sorrow at the loss of life and sent a high-level military delegation to Moscow.
A spokesman for a Russian company producing electronic warfare systems says that their deployment to Syria will help protect the country's air defense assets and fend off enemy air raids.
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Vladimir Mikheyev of Radioelectronics Technologies said Friday in remarks carried by the Interfax news agency that Krasukha and Zhitel electronic countermeasure units will place Syria's air defenses under an "electronic umbrella," making it hard to spot and attack them.