US military strikes on Syria last week removed any moral obligation Russia had to withhold S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems from its ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today (20 April) , according to RIA state news agency.
On Saturday, the United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles targeting what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities in Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Douma on 7 April.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the next day that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs.
Lavrov was also quoted as saying that, prior to the US strikes on Syrian targets, Russia had told US officials which areas of Syria represented “red lines” for Moscow, and the US military action did not cross those lines.
“Now, we have no moral obligations. We had the moral obligations, we had promised not to do it some 10 years ago, I think, upon the request of our known partners,” he said according to RIA.
He also said that he was convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump would not allow an armed confrontation between their two countries, RIA reported.
A Russian army commander has also said that Moscow would consider supplying S-300 missile systems to Syria following US-led strikes.
Russia has the S-300 and more recent S-400 systems protecting its air base and naval facility in Syria. This time however the advanced aid defence systems are to protect the broader Syrian airspace.
According to military analysts, the S-300 surface-to-air missile system would improve Russia’s ability to control air space in Syria, where Moscow’s forces support the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and could be aimed at deterring tougher US action.