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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

U.S. Says Russia ‘Fuels Fire’ by Selling Arms to Syria

RIA Novosti

06:38 03/03/2012

WASHINGTON, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is playing a ‘dangerous role’ by supplying arms to Syria amid the ongoing violent clashes in the country between the authorities and protesters, Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of State said.

“The U.S. has been pushing Russia to consider the wisdom of its own arms sales to Syria, for arguably a decade, and certainly most acutely since this crisis began, and particularly since the assault in Homs. So our message to them is very clear with regard to the dangerous role that they are playing in fueling the fire,” Nuland told a daily press briefing.

Last month the European Parliament adopted a resolution strongly urging Russia to immediately stop selling arms and military equipment to Damascus.

Syria, the largest importer of Russian weapons in the Middle East, recently signed contracts for the supply of 24 MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets and eight Buk-M2E air-defense systems. A contract for the supply of Bastion anti-ship missile systems armed with SS-N-26 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles is currently being implemented.

Russia and China have twice vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria that they believe could lead to a military operation against Syrian government forces as a repetition of “the Libyan scenario.”

Russia has also opposed calls to establish air corridors in Syria to provide humanitarian aid to civilian population suffering from the consequences of clashes between troops loyal to al-Assad and opposition forces.

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