On Tuesday Mrs Clinton, who in recent weeks has been stepping up her criticism of Moscow, said the US was “concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically”. With no evidence available of any contracts for new helicopters for Damascus, US officials were forced within twenty four hours to qualify the remark, however. “She put a little spin on it to put the Russians in a difficult position,” a senior Pentagon official told the New York Times.Through its ambassador to Russia, Riad Haddad, Syria offered a first denial of her claim yesterday. “Russia is not delivering any helicopters to Syria,” he asserted. Threatening to stoke the tensions further, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, meanwhile accused the US of hypocrisy. Russia insists that any military contracts it has with Syria are for the supply of defensive weapons only to protect the country from foreign attack.
“We are not providing Syria or any other place with things which can be used in struggle with peaceful demonstrators, unlike the United States, which regularly supplies such equipment to this region,” Mr. Lavrov said, singling out what he had said were recent US deliveries to “one of the Persian Gulf states”, interpreted as a reference to Bahrain. “But for some reason the Americans consider this completely normal.”...read more