Polina Nikolskaya, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber
Hiiraan Xog, MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Monday it would supply an S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria in two weeks despite strong Israeli objections, a week after Moscow accused Israel of indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military jet in Syria.
The White House said it hoped Russia would reconsider the move, which U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton called a “significant escalation” of Syria’s seven-year war.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow had in the past obliged Israel by refraining from providing Syria with the S-300. But last week’s crash, which killed 15 Russian service members, had forced Russia to take “adequate retaliatory measures” to keep its troops safe.
“A modern S-300 air defence missile system will be transferred to the Syrian armed forces within two weeks,” he said. The system will “significantly increase the Syrian army’s combat capabilities,” he said.