Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman promised to attack Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft defense systems in Syria if they are used against Israel. “If someone targets our planes, we will destroy them,” Lieberman told Ynet.
Lieberman Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash 90
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview with Ynet on Tuesday that Israel is ready to defend itself against any Russian S-300 anti-aircraft defense system in Syria. “The Russians have no reason to initiate conflict with us and vice versa,” he said.
While responding to threats that Russia is planning to aid Syria by providing it with the highly destructive S-300 system, Lieberman promised to make sure that these systems are not aimed at Israel. “If they act against us – we will act against them,” he added.
Israel has already asked Russia to refrain from aiding Assad’s regime by supplying it with this highly technological system, Reuters reported yesterday.
Russian officials told the Russian paper Kommersant yesterday that Moscow intends to provide Syria with an S-300 anti-aircraft defense system. Meanwhile, Israeli officials told Kommersant that the Israeli Air Force would likely respond forcefully to the system’s debut in Syria by bombing the site where the missiles are placed.
“I want to make one thing clear – if someone targets our planes, we will destroy them. We do not interfere in Syria’s internal affairs, but on the other hand, we cannot allow Iran to [use] smart military systems aimed at Israel. If anyone aims at us, we will respond. It does not matter if it is an S-300 or S-700 or anything else,” Lieberman was quoted as saying.
On a positive note, Lieberman asserted that Israel’s relations with Moscow were open and that the Russians had no reason to seek conflict with Israel.
“The Russian systems are in Syria and are not aimed at us. We have an open line, we really have a dialogue, not always a simple one, but we do have one with the Russians,” Lieberman stressed. “Up until now, we’ve had a few years of being coordinated and successful in preventing conflicts with the Russians. The Russian systems are there but they are not intended for us. It is only Syria that is acting against us.”