Russian Arms Exporter: 'This Is Not a Threat, but ...'
The stuff we're selling to Syria works really well, he warns
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2012 12:02 PM CDT
In this 2010 file photo, a Russian Buk-M2 air defense system is displayed at a military show. Moscow has shipped such missiles to Syria.   (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, file)

(Newser) – It's Russia's turn in the war of words playing out over Moscow's role in supplying arms to Syria. In an interview with the New York Times, the man in charge of arms exports notes that Moscow has been sending missile-defense systems to Syria for some time, and he insists they work very well. “This is not a threat, but whoever is planning an attack should think about this," says Anatoly P. Isaykin of Rosoboronexport.

The statement jibes with Russia's contention that the arms it ships to Bashar al-Assad's regime are for defensive purposes, but it's likely to resonate as world leaders contemplate the next move on Syria. It follows Hillary Clinton's charge about Russia sending helicopters and comes ahead of a sitdown between Vladimir Putin and President Obama on the sidelines of next week's G20 summit. Meanwhile, UN observers have called off their mission in Syria because of the recent spike in violence.