Russia Rejects Clinton Accusation of Arms for Syria Repression [View all]
By Ladane Nasseri and Flavia Krause-Jackson - 2012-06-13T15:27:19Z
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected U.S. accusations that it’s sending arms for use against Syrian civilians and said his country is simply fulfilling its contractual obligations.
“We are completing previously signed and paid-for contracts,” Lavrov said during a press conference in Tehran today with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi. “All these contracts have to do exclusively with air-defense systems.” Russia was only supplying “what Syria might need in case of a military attack from outside.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday that she was “concerned by the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically.” Russia is repairing about 20 Mi-24 helicopters sold to Syria during the Soviet era, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg today.
The U.S. and United Nations say the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad is using helicopter gunships as it increases the tempo of military operations against the opposition. After 15 months of conflict, the UN says its two- month old cease-fire is failing to hold and that massacres are being committed against Sunni civilians.