Russian arms trader: Syria shipments will continue

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MOSCOW — Russia will continue supplying weapons to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government despite the country’s escalating civil war, the head of Russia’s state arms trader said today.

Anatoly Isaikin, the director of Rosoboronexport, said that Russia sees no need to stop arms trade with Syria as it isn’t prohibited by the United Nations. He dismissed Western criticism of Russian arms sales to Assad’s regime, saying that his company has only delivered defensive weapons.

“In the absence of sanctions, we are continuing to fulfill our contract obligations,” Isaikin said at a news conference. “But these aren’t offensive weapons. We are mostly shipping air defense systems and repair equipment intended for various branches of the military.”

Moscow has been the main protector of Assad’s beleaguered regime, joining with China at the U.N. Security Council to block attempts to impose sanctions over his crackdown on a 23-month-old uprising in which more than 60,000 have died.

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