Not delivering helicopters to Syria, says RussiaJune 16th, 2012 - 10:37 am ICT by IANS
Moscow, June 16 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia is not delivering new military helicopters to Syria, the Russian foreign ministry said in response to media reports that claimed Syria was getting Mi-25 helicopter gunships from Moscow.
“As already stated, no new deliveries are being made to Syria of Russian military helicopters,” the foreign ministry said, adding “all military-technical cooperation with Syria is limited to defensive weapons”.
“As regards helicopters, there were planned overhauls of equipment supplied many years ago,” the ministry said.
The ministry statement follows a denial by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“We are completing right now the implementation of contracts that were signed and paid for a long time ago,” Lavrov said.
“We are not delivering to Syria, or anywhere else, items that could be used against peaceful demonstrators,” he said.
The ministry’s statement follows claims by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Russia was supplying helicopters to Syria that were being used against civilians.
Clinton later clarified her statements, acknowledging that Russia was returning used equipment to Syria.
“Whether they are new or they are refurbished, the concern remains that they will be used for the exact same purpose that the current helicopters in Syria are being used, and that is to kill civilians,” US State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was quoted as saying by Al Arabiya.
“These are helicopters that have been out of the fight for some six months or longer. They are freshly refurbished. The question is simply what one expects them to be used for when one sees what the current fleet is doing,” she said.
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