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Russia will continue arms sales to Syria

A defense minister in the Kremlin says the sales don't violate any international agreements.

Russia arms sales syria katyushaEnlarge
A famous WWII-era Soviet multiple rocket launching systems called 'Katyusha' (partly seen) stands at the Red square in Moscow, on November 7, 2011. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Russia said on Friday it will continue its controversial arms sales to Syria, which is currently embroiled in a civil conflict, according to the Associated Press.

Russia, which sold Syria 36 airplanes just last month, said it isn't breaking any international agreements. Reuters reported:

The daily Kommersant cited a source close to Russia's state arms export monopoly, Rosoboronexport, as saying that the sides had signed a contract after holding talks in December, and that Damascus was to pay $550 million for 36 Yak-130 aircraft.

Ruslan Pukhov, a Russian defense analyst quoted by Reuters, said UN action could result in Syria canceling the contract. Syria's $700 million in annual arms purchases account for seven percent of Russia's annual arms revenue.

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The United Nations Security Council is currently embroiled in a bitter debate over a resolution condemning the Syria violence, and Russia promises to veto any resolution that calls for the Syrian president to step down. Reports indicated that new wording, which deletes the call for Assad to resign, has not won over Russian support.

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The Syrian president told a Lebanese politician in Damascus that the conflict there "had reached the decisive stage," reported Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120203/russia-will-continue-arms-sales-syria