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Russia rules out supply of arms to volatile regions

Moscow's assertion must come as a relief to the West

MOSCOW (BNS): Aware of the rising global concerns over Iran and Syria, authorities here announced on Thursday that Russia would not supply air defence systems to volatile regions.

Addressing media in Moscow, foreign ministry spokesperson Andrei Nesterenko made the announcement while answering a query if Russia would supply air defence systems to Iran and Syria.

Earlier this week, the issue figured at a summit between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when they met in Moscow.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted Nesterenko as saying, “We have repeatedly said that we do not plan to supply those types of weapons to countries located in volatile regions.”

The foreign ministry spokesperson said that supplying such weapons would run contrary to Russia's foreign policy and its interest in maintaining stability in different regions. “Decisions on arm sales are based on regional security issues and the need to maintain a balance of forces,” the spokesperson said.

There have been reports in the Israeli media that Russia plans to supply guided missile systems to Iran. This had worried Israel's defence ministry, RIA Novosti said. At the beginning of the week, Rosoboronexport, Russian federal arms sales agency denied it had plans to sell Russian surface-to-air missiles to the Middle East.

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