Moscow - Russia will not deliver fighter planes or other new arms to Syria while the situation there remains unresolved, the country's service for military co-operation said on Monday, according to a Russian news agency.
“While the situation in Syria is unstable, there will be no new deliveries of arms there,” Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy director of the service, told journalists at the Farnborough Airshow in Britain, Interfax reported
This could signal the boldest move yet by Moscow to distance itself from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad whom it has defended in the U.N. Security Council from harsher sanctions.
Syria has been rocked by conflict for the last 16 months in an uprising against Assad.
Dzirkaln said Russia, one of Syria's main weapons suppliers, would not be delivering a shipment of Yak-130 fighter planes, a contract for which was reportedly signed at the end of last year. The report said a contract for 40 fighters was signed.
“In the current situation talking about deliveries of airplanes to Syria is premature,” he said.
Last month, Russia came under criticism from the West after allegations from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that attack helicopters were on the way from Russia to Syria.
Moscow has said the helicopters were part of an old contract. It said it did not send arms that could be used in civil conflicts but only weaponry that could be used against external aggression.
“Previously, we were fulfilling old contracts, including repairs of the machines. Until the situation stabilises, we will not carry out any new arms deliveries,” Dzirkaln said. - Reuters