Israel Threatens Russia over Syria

Israel threatens to decide against potential military cooperation with Russia, outraged at Moscow’s refusal to cancel its weapons sales to Syria.

"We will have to reconsider all the proposed deals with Russia. Moscow did not show the needed understanding to our requests," the British aerospace weekly Flight International quoted a senior Israeli official as saying on Wednesday.

Russia plans to buy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from Israel and develop a local manufacturing facility with Tel Aviv’s help, the periodical added.

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said recently that Moscow would fulfill a 2007 arms deal with Damascus. The deal includes the sale of P-800 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles, which have a range of 300 kms (185 miles) and can carry a 200-kilogram (440-pound) warhead.

A senior Israeli defense official reacted to the decision afterwards by claiming, "The weapons will eventually be turned against Israel."

A top government official also accused Moscow of not caring about the "regional stability."

Israel and the United States had cautioned Moscow against the sale of Yakhonts to Syria.
The source quoted by the weekly claimed that the missiles could find their way to the hands of Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah. The movement has defeated two deadly Israeli wars on Lebanon in 2000 and 2006.

Earlier in the year, Washington and Tel Aviv had also alleged that Syria was supplying Russian-made Scud missiles to Hezbollah.

Damascus, Beirut and the movement itself have categorically rejected the claim.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has likened the arms transfer claim to the US allegations about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, which were later found to be baseless. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has also spoken strongly against the accusation.

The head of a Russian UAV production company, meanwhile, said that the country would not need the Israeli assistance to make progress in the development of UAVs, RIA Novosti reported.

"In the next two or three years, there will be a breakthrough in the Russian UAV market regardless of the Israeli position on this issue," Vladimir Verba said on Thursday.

(Press TV)

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