MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s MiG aircraft maker said Friday it plans to sign a new agreement to ship at least 10 fighter jets to Syria, a move that comes amid international criticism of earlier Russian weapons deals with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
MiG’s director general, Sergei Korotkov, said a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss the details of a new contract for the delivery of MiG-29 M/M2 fighters. In remarks carried by Russian news agencies, he said Syria wants to buy “more than 10” such fighters, but wouldn’t give the exact number.
Russia has said it’s only providing Assad with weapons intended to protect Syria from a foreign invasion, such as air defense missile systems. It has claimed it is not delivering weapons that could be used in Syria’s two-year civil war, which has killed more 70,000 people and sent millions fleeing the country.
But the delivery of MiGs would contradict that claim and expose Russia to global criticism, so the Kremlin might think twice before giving the go-ahead.
A MiG spokesman wouldn’t comment on Korotkov’s statement, and the MiG chief could be referring to a deal the company previously negotiated with Syria that apparently has been put on hold amid the civil war.
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