Israel Criticizes Russia for Supplying Warplanes to Syria

May 16, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Israeli PM and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman attends a press conference in Tokyo, Japan on May 12. Last Sunday, Lieberman criticized Russia for supplying warplanes to Syria, claiming that the move did not bring peace to the region. (Toshifumi Kitamura/Getty Image)
Israeli PM and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman attends a press conference in Tokyo, Japan on May 12. Last Sunday, Lieberman criticized Russia for supplying warplanes to Syria, claiming that the move did not bring peace to the region. (Toshifumi Kitamura/Getty Image)
The Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday criticized Russia for supplying warplanes to Syria, claiming that the move did not bring peace to the region.

The statement came after a top military official told Russian news agency ITAR-Tass that Moscow would supply Damascus MiG-29 fighter jets, Pantsir short-range air defense systems, and armored vehicles, as agreed during the first official visit of the Russian president to Syria last week.

“The weapons will not help build a prosperous atmosphere for peace negotiations in the region,” Lieberman told Israel's public radio.

During Russian President Dmitry Mevedev’s visit to Syria he also discussed with his counterpart Bashar al-Assad the possibilities of building hydro and nuclear stations.

The foundation of Russia-Syria ties were laid during the Soviet era, when weapons and military vehicles were supplied freely.

Russia’s recent agreement, along with recent promises to supply warplanes to Damascus, which has close ties to Iran, are irritating Tel Aviv and Washington.

Syria is known to have ties with terrorist groups such as the Palestinian Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, and Lebanon's Hezbollah. The Israeli foreign minister also accused Syria of supplying Hezbollah with Scud missiles.

President Obama extended sanctions on Syria in early May because the country constitutes a danger to U.S. internal security and external policy, as it supports extremist groups and attempts to get weapons of mass destruction.

Medvedev also called on the exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to engage in peace talks with Israel while he was meeting him in Damascus.

However, Israel refuses any engagement with Hamas in the peace process, which started recently between Israel and the Palestinians, supported by the diplomatic quartet comprising the U.N., European Union, Russia, and the United States.