by WorldTribune Staff, October 3, 2018
Russia on Oct. 2 said that it had completed delivery of the S-300 missile system to Syria, a move the U.S. said would be a “serious escalation” of tensions in the region.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the S-300 has been delivered and that work on preparation and training of the system’s crews will be completed by Oct. 20.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said “I saw that report. I cannot confirm that that is accurate. I hope that they did not. That would be a – I think sort of a serious escalation in concerns and issues going on in Syria, but I just can’t confirm it, so I don’t have anything more for you on that right now.”
Kan News reported that Russia received $1 billion from Syria in payment for the S-300.
Russia announced last week it would send the S-300 to Syria to bolster the nation’s air-defense network after a Russian military aircraft was mistakenly shot down by Syrian forces.
Israel has voiced concerns over the S-300 delivery to Syria. Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s regional cooperation minister and a non-voting member of its security cabinet, said the delivery would not clip Israel’s military wings in Syria.
“The operational abilities of the air force are such that those (S-300) batteries really do not constrain the air force’s abilities to act,” Hanegbi told Israel’s Army Radio.
Referring to F-35 stealth fighters that Israel began receiving from the United States over a year ago, Hanegbi said: “You know that we have stealth fighters, the best planes in the world. These batteries are not even able to detect them.”
Hanegbi said Israel has “clarified to the Syrians more than once that we will not step back from our commitment to prevent Iran’s entrenchment in Syria,” adding a veiled threat to take action against the S-300 on the ground: “We were already forced, a few months ago, to destroy Syrian missile batteries, and I hope they won’t challenge us in the future.”