Russia denies supplying Syria with helicopters

MOSCOW -- Russia has denied it has been delivering new military helicopters to Syria and stressed it is only repairing the ones delivered 20 years ago.

Commenting on U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton that Russia that Russia has been delivering attack helicopters to Syria, Russian analysts say that “it is completely untrue” and that it represents “nothing but empty words” and a “pre-election hysteria” in Washington.

Russia's Arms Exports magazine editor Andrei Frolov claims that Russia has not delivered any new helicopters to Syria in two decades. He explained that Russia, in accordance with the agreement on the technical-military cooperation, only modernized and repaired the aircrafts that had been delivered to Syria 20 or 30 years ago.

“Military helicopters were supplied on a wide scale in Soviet times. But the last helicopter deliveries occurred in the early 1990s," Frolov pointed out.

Moscow Defense Brief Dditor Mikhail Barabanov said Clinton could only have been referring to "some Syrian Mi-24 or Mi-17 helicopters that were sent back to Russia for repairs."

Academy of Geopolitical Sciences President and former top official of the Defense Ministry Leonid Ivashov pointed out that he had no information about deliveries of helicopters to Syria but that “there are no limitations in the military-technical cooperation between Russia and Syria” and that “Moscow can deliver any weapons it wants to Syria”.

“This is a pseudo accusation. Firstly, Russia is not limited in its actions toward Syria. Secondly, madam secretary of state has no evidence but she has doubts. This is just a pre-election hysteria of the Democrats in Washington,” Ivashov noted.

Moscow-based Institute for Strategic Studies and Analysis expert Sergei Demidenko said that the U.S. accusations were “only empty words” and that “the Western countries want to create an illusion that they are ready to come to the defense of the Syrian people and topple President Bashar al-Assad’s regime but they are actually not planning on doing so because it costs a lot.”

“I believe that Russia is in this case ‘a bad guy’ who is preventing the West from finishing Assad while the West is only pretending they want to do so. They do not want to bomb Syria and they will not do it for a long time,” Demidenko explained.

Moscow still has not reacted to Clinton’s statement but Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said three days ago that weapons that Russia delivered to Syria could not be used in the civil conflict.

He stressed that, according to the valid military-technical agreement between the two countries, Russia only delivered missile technology for air defense systems to Syria.

Clinton said earlier that the U.S. was “concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria”.