A shipment of S-300 missile defense systems that Syria contracted from Russia in 2011 will not be delivered in the spring, but will instead be delayed until June 2014, according to the Russian newspaper Vedomosti Business Daily.
A report from the company that builds the S-300 system was cited by the newspaper on Friday, officially confirming reports from May that the systems would not be delivered until 2014.
The newspaper also reported that Russia has already received “hundreds of millions of dollars” in payment for the four state-of-the-art defense systems, which are able to intercept both ballistic missiles and airplanes, and has finished producing the first, unshipped delivery. Production of the second shipment is postponed as well.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in June acknowledged the contract for the missile defense systems but said that the shipment had been delayed because of fears of altering “the power balance in the region.”
Both Jerusalem and Washington have pressured Russia to not export the S-300 systems. Vedomosti reported that the systems could be used if Western powers become more directly involved in the conflict by seeking to establish a no-fly zone over Syria in a manner similar to the no-fly zone that was placed over Libya in 2011.