Russia's state arms trader says shipments to Syria will continue

Associated Press

MOSCOW - The head of Russia's state arms trader says Moscow will continue shipping weapons to the government in Syria despite the country's escalating civil war.

Anatoly Isaikin, the director of Rosoboronexport, says arms trade with Syria isn't prohibited by the United Nations and so Russia has no intention to stop.

Isaikin told a Wednesday news conference that Russia is sending Syria defensive weapons, mostly air-defence systems, but nothing that could be used offensively such as planes, helicopters or armoured vehicles.

Moscow has been a main protector of Syrian President Bashar Assad's beleaguered regime, shielding it from attempts to impose U.N. sanctions over his crackdown on a 23-month-old uprising in which more than 60,000 have died.

Isaikin said more deliveries will be conducted under existing contracts, but gave no specifics.

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