BRUSSELS, February 18 (RIA Novosti) – Following Finland’s seizure last week of tank parts reportedly bound for Syria from Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Moscow had not tried to smuggle arms components to Syria via Finland.
The cargo’s origination point and intended destination were reported by the carrier transporting it, Finnline, on Friday.
But Lavrov said the Russian government – which controls Russia’s sole arms exporter, Rosoboronexport – had nothing to do with the equipment.
“There was no governmental cargo on the ship, and so we’re trying to make inquiries into this report,” Lavrov said, speaking at a meeting with his colleagues from Northern Europe in Brussels.
Finnish Customs reported last week that it was investigating the origins of a container full of spare tank parts that was unloaded from a ship at Helsinki’s Vuosaari Harbor in January.
Finnline said the container had military equipment, but did not identify its owner.
Rosoboronexport refused to comment on Finnline’s cargo, but has confirmed earlier that it is shipping military equipment to Syria in line with existing contracts.
Members of the European Union, including Finland, are prohibited under EU regulations from exporting arms to Syria, where a civil war has claimed some 70,000 lives, according to the latest United Nations estimates.
Last July, a Russian ship, the Alaed, carrying helicopter gunships to Syria was forced to return to St. Petersburg after British insurers pulled its coverage. Lavrov said at the time that the aircraft were not a new purchase but had only undergone maintenance in Russia.
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- bielecHere is the Big Question:05:00, 19/02/2013With all due respect for Russia's stance on Syria, I cannot understand why Russia has to deny arming the Syrian government and Syrian army.
Syria has been Russia's ally for years. Syria is under attack instigated from abroad. Syrian government is fighting terrorists, foreign mercenaries, trators, and criminals trying to destabilize the country.
There is nothing inappropriate in Russia's political support of the Syrian government. There would be nothing inappropriat in delivering tank parts to the Syrian army.
U.S. has been arming dictatorial regimes, criminal states, and terrorist organizations all over the world.
Russia should not be shy about supporting the legitimate armed forces of the legitimate government of Syria. Denying this sends a wrong signal suggesting that Syrian government is engaged in crimes, while in fact it is engaged in restoring law and order.
- bielecNo civil war in Syria05:12, 19/02/2013And please, RIA Novosti writers, stop calling the situation in Syria a "civil war."
This is not a civil war, this is a war. Syria is being attacked by forces led by foreign organizations, mercenaries, and terrorists who attempt to destabilize the country in line with criminal policy goals of the U.S., Israel, E.U., and some regional regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey.
Calling this a "civil war" is highly misleading and very destructive in terms of Russia's diplomatic efforts in this area.
- dykalgand the United States started this WAR11:27, 19/02/2013"I think I've done what was possible to do over the last two years in trying to create or help stand up an opposition that was credible and could be an interlocutor in any kind of political negotiation," Clinton said. "We've engaged in a steady drumbeat of activities and trying to put together a coalition and trying to find a way to get something through the Security Council that would serve as the international legal basis for further action to be taken by many countries."
- arsanlupinOf course it’s a CIVIL war!20:24, 19/02/2013What started out as peaceful demonstrations against a corrupt and repressive regime was answered with automatic weapons fire. When the demonstrators refused to back down the Syrian military escalated it into a full-scale CIVIL war. The history of the CIVIL war has been thoroughly documented by news agencies all across the world – including RIA Novosti – and even the Russian government openly calls it a CIVIL war.
Only conspiracy theorists with an irrational hatred for The West in general and the USA in particular call it a war of “foreign organizations, mercenaries, and terrorists”. Such deluded people have formed an “opinion” based on personal bias and bitter hatred of something they understand nothing about. Such “opinions” are so dear to their hearts that proof of their falsehood enrages them. They protest more and more shrilly when the documented and recorded facts from just about everyone (except the Syrian government) show the world the reality: it IS a CIVIL war. They are like little children with eyes shut, fingers in their ears, screaming “LALALALALALA!!!” in an effort to shut out reality.
There are doctors for that, you know …
- bielecTo arsanlupin:11:15, 20/02/2013Here you go, again. I wonder what is it: are you blind, or stup*d, or both? Or, are you simply doing your dirty work for the NWO / zionist crowd?
Of course, Russia must be carefull and must use a neutral diplomatic language. Russia has recently succeeded in bringing the "Syrian opposition" to the negotiating table without pre-conditions - something that was only possible, if the language used allowed the "opposition" to save face.
- rochefortfrancoisblablabla...13:49, 19/02/2013I agree with you bielec
- alexk2Not arming Syria?19:37, 19/02/2013That is really too bad, congrats on losing one of your last allies.