A high-profile visit to Moscow by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have paid off, as comments from the Kremlin on Friday suggest they will not be delivering an advanced missile defense system to Syria.
The change of heart comes after Russia’s defense ministry announced last month it was planning to send S-300 defense systems to Syria. Israel issued a warning in response that they would not shy away from destroying them if necessary. The Kremlin said that there would be “catastrophic consequences,” should Israel follow through on that threat.
That is all water under the bridge now, following Netanyahu’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week, after which a Putin aide casually mentioned that Russia is “not discussing any deliveries of advanced new systems” to Syria.
The widely reported comments from Vladimir Kozhin, which were published in Russia’s Izvetia newspaper, were quickly downplayed by the Kremlin.
“Technologically, it is absolutely incorrect to link this [Kozhin’s words] with Netanyahu’s visit because the interview was given before Netanyahu’s visit,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by TASS as saying.