Israel has warned Russia against providing missiles to Syria, promising action if the warning is ignored. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has stated that the weapons were offered in an attempt to reduce conflict.
An EU weapons embargo failed to renew on Monday, setting the stage for transfer of weapons to Syria. Britain and France argued against renewal of the arms embargo. However, they contend that they are not prepared to supply Syria with weapons “at this time.”
As reported by NBC News, all other EU sanctions will remain in place against Syria, including trade, travel bans, and asset freezes. The existing weapons embargo will not expire until August. However, weapons could potentially be provided before that date.
Officials in Israel are concerned that the weapons could be intercepted by Islamist factions, who would use them against Israel. As Russia has committed to provide anti-aircraft S300 missiles to Syria, the exchange is being viewed as a threat.
Israel has warned Russia against sending the weapons, stating that they would be forced into action if the exchange continues as planned. As reported by 3 News, Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, asserts that they are ready if Russia does not heed the warning:
“At this stage I can’t say there is an escalation. The shipments have not been sent on their way yet. And I hope that they will not be sent … if God forbid they do reach Syria, we will know what to do.”
Officials in Russia contend that Syria needs the weapons to defend themselves and to prevent further escalation in the area. Russian Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov has not confirmed whether the weapons have been shipped.
S-300 missiles can travel up to 124 miles and have the technology to simultaneously target multiple sites.
Officials in Israel have warned Russia against shipping the weapons. They would prefer if they have not or will not be shipped, but they are prepared to use force to prevent the delivery.
[Images via Wikimedia]