‘EU has no right to inspect Syria-bound Russian transport’
"Only aircraft and ships of the European Union are subject to this requirement,” Roman Pukhov told Interfax-AVN on Friday. “The EU has no international legal right to inspect aircraft and ships belonging to countries that are not its members, including Russia."
Pukhov’s comments followed media reports saying that the EU plans to adopt a resolution in Brussels on Monday that gives officials the right to inspect aircraft and ships suspected of violating the arms embargo imposed on Syria.
"Such a scenario is impossible in terms of law and in the military-technical context,” he noted. “It is absolutely impossible to imagine EU servicemen boarding Russian ships."
Russian-Syrian military-technical cooperation is continuing in strict compliance with international law, he said.
"Syria is not under UN Security Council sanctions,” Pushkov reiterated. “Therefore arms deliveries to the Syrian authorities are not banned."
Russia in the meantime will delay its controversial shipment of three attack helicopters and an air defense system to Syria until security is restored in the country, an anonymous military source told the Interfax news agency on Friday.
The decision not to send the military hardware was based upon a recent spike of violence in the country.
"The decision to delay the Syrian delivery timeframe is based on the escalating military and political situation in the country and the act of terror in which several senior Syrian officials were killed and injured," the unnamed military source revealed.
"In these conditions, the authorities are not able to guarantee the safe reception of the helicopters."
The source added that Russia still intended to complete delivery of the military equipment even though its initial attempt was exposed by the US State Department. The delivery was further delayed in June when the British insurer cancelled its coverage of the transport ship.
"The helicopters and aid defense equipment will be delivered to Syria after the situation there normalizes," according to the source.
The three helicopters had undergone an upgrade in Kaliningrad under a contract with Syria that was signed in 2008, long before civil unrest broke out in the country.