Russia's Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed that it is still supplying the Syrian regime with arms and ammunition, including air defence weapons. Dmitry Rogozin tried to justify this by saying that it is not incompatible with international resolutions and that the contracts were signed a long time ago. His remarks were published in the Russian media.
Rogozin, who heads the military industry sector in his country, referred to the issue in his meeting with members of the Russian parliament and representatives of NATO's general parliamentary association in Moscow. "All weapons exported by Russia to Syria are defensive, especially air defence weapons," he claimed.
The Syrian Air Force is used mainly in an offensive mode against the regime's opponents. It is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians and the destruction of homes and neighbourhoods during the current unrest in the country.
Military-technical cooperation between Russia and Syria became a matter of concern after Turkey forced a Syrian passenger jet to land in Ankara airport on suspicion that it was carrying weapons from Moscow to Damascus. Russia acknowledged that the aircraft carried "radar equipment which is not prohibited by international treaties".