Russia to sell anti-ship rockets to Syria


Reuters: February 26th, 2011

Despite Israeli fears that the rockets could ultimately land in Hezbollah hands, the Russian Defense Minister says plans to sell the rockets are moving ahead.

Russia will press ahead with plans to sell anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria despite Israeli concerns, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Russia planned on selling two surface-to-air rocket units armed with P-800, or Yakhont, missiles to Damasacus in a deal worth $300 million, Russian media previously reported.

“The contract is on its way to being realized,” Interfax news agency quoted Serdyukov as telling reporters in Russia’s Far East city of Vladivostok.

Israel has voiced concerns that the sale of the rockets, capable of hitting ships 300 kilometers off Syria’s coast, could end up in the hands of Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah.

Hezbollah used a surface to air missile in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War to hit the INS Hanit warship, killing four sailors. Russia maintains a naval base in Syria.

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