Monday, April 23, 2018

Russia Warns Israel Do Not Destroy S-300 Missile Defense Systems Or Will Be 'Catastrophic For All SIdes'

Russian officials said to warn of 'catastrophic' result if Israel strikes S-300s

Russia may begin delivering its powerful S-300 missile defense system to Syria in the near future, despite opposition from Israel and other Western powers, the Russian daily Kommersant reported Monday, citing anonymous government sources.
The sources told the newspaper that if Israel tried to destroy the anti-aircraft batteries — as analysts have indicated Israeli likely would — it would be “catastrophic for all sides.
Moscow announced last week that it was considering reversing its longtime policy against supplying the S-300 system to the regime. The statement came following a series of airstrikes against Syrian targets by the United States, United Kingdom and France earlier this month in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

“A few years ago at the request of our partners, we decided not to supply S-300s to Syria,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the BBC last week. “Now that this outrageous act of aggression was undertaken by the US, France and UK, we might think how to make sure that the Syrian state is protected.”

Lavrov’s comments to the BBC indicated that the impetus for Russia to reverse its decision and give Assad the S-300 was not the airstrike allegedly conducted by Israel on April 9, but the American-French-British attack on April 13.

According to Kommersant’s report, Russia will not be selling Assad the S-300 system, but rather providing it at no cost as part of a military aid package in order to hasten the delivery.
The Russian-made system offers long-range protection against both fighter jets and missiles. The system has been supplied by Moscow to Tehran, and deployed by the Russian army in Syria, alongside its more advanced iteration: the S-400.

Israeli officials have expressed concerns that selling the S-300 system to Damascus could weaken Israel’s regional air supremacy.
Therefore, Israel might look to destroy the defense system, preferably before it is set up and made operational.
Israel’s former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, who currently heads the influential Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said he assumed the air force would work quickly to destroy the S-300.
“If I know the air force well, we have already made proper plans to deal with this threat. After you remove the threat, which is basically what will be done, we’re back to square one,” Yadlin told Bloomberg news last week.

In what many saw as a direct reaction to the looming proliferation of the S-300 and other missile defense systems throughout the Middle East — but especially in Iran — Israel purchased a fleet of F-35 stealth fighter jets from the American Lockheed-Martin defense contractor.
The state-of-the-art planes are meant to offer a solution to the challenges posed by the S-300, whose radar systems can detect aircraft from some 300 kilometers (186 miles) away.

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