April 20, 2018 / 6:31 AM / 7 months ago

Russia: U.S. strikes remove moral hurdles for S-300 missiles for Assad - RIA

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference after a meeting with U.N. special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura in Moscow, Russia March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. military strikes on Syria last week removed any moral obligation Russia had to withhold S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems from its ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday, according to RIA state news agency.

Lavrov was also quoted as saying that, prior to the U.S. strikes on Syrian targets, Russia had told U.S. officials which areas of Syria represented “red lines” for Moscow, and the U.S. military action did not cross those lines.

“Now, we have no moral obligations. We had the moral obligations, we had promised not to do it some 10 years ago, I think, upon the request of our known partners,” he said according to RIA.

He also said that he was convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump would not allow an armed confrontation between their two countries, RIA reported.

A Russian army commander has also said that Moscow would consider supplying S-300 missile systems to Syria following U.S.-led strikes.

The United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles last week in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack by government forces on a rebel-held area near the capital.

According to military analysts, the S-300 surface-to-air missile system would improve Russia’s ability to control air space in Syria, where Moscow’s forces support the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and could be aimed at deterring tougher U.S. action.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Christian Lowe and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Peter Graff and Hugh Lawson

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