Russian Officials Confirm: S-300 Surface-to-air Missile System Reached Syria

'The work was finished a day ago', Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu tells Putin ■ Syria said that 'Israel will have to think twice' before striking after the missiles' transfer, which was announced amid tensions over downed Russian spyplane

A Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system is on display at an undisclosed location in Russia
AP

Russia has delivered an S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin during a meeting broadcasted by Rossiya 24 TV on Tuesday. "The work was finished a day ago," Shoigu said.

On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow had already started delivering the S-300 air defense systems to Syria's government. 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."

To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

Russia announced last 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.

>> To Russia with Love || Opinion

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.

Last week, an  Israeli official said that the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles are "a complicated challenge" for Israel. he official added: "We're dealing with it in different ways, not necessarily by preventing the delivery."

According to the official, Russian President Vladimir Putin updated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the fact that he intends to send the missiles to Syria within two weeks, and then acted accordingly.Israel has meanwhile clarified to Putin that it will continue to act within Syrian territory and U.S. President Donald Trump has stated that his country fully supports Israel's actions as well as its right to defend itself.

"Putin made a move, but it's a big playing field and he understands that," the official said.

Also last week, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said that "Israel, which has gotten used to carrying out attacks under various pretexts, will now have to weigh and rethink before attacking again."
Mekdad told the Chinese news agency Xinhua. "The aggression against Syria is directed towards the forces that are fighting against terrorism in Syria. If Israel will try to attack we will defend our people as we did in the past."

A spokesman for a Russian company producing electronic warfare systems said last Friday that their deployment to Syria will help protect the country's air defense assets and fend off enemy air raids.

Vladimir Mikheyev of Radioelectronics Technologies 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.