Plane carrying legal shipment: Lavrov

Plane carrying legal shipment: Lavrov

MOSCOW - Reuters
Plane carrying legal shipment: Lavrov

EPA Photo

Russia said that there were “no weapons” aboard a Syrian civilian jet that was grounded by Turkish authorities and that the plane was carrying a legal shipment of radar equipment.

“We have no secrets,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters Oct. 12. “There were, of course, no weapons on the plane and could not have been any. There was a cargo on the plane that a legal Russian supplier was sending in a legal way to a legal customer.”

Lavrov said the Airbus A-320 was carrying radar components and transporting such items by civil aircraft does not contradict international norms, according to Russia Today. Lavrov added, however, that the cargo was of “dual purpose,” meaning it could have civilian and military applications. He said the Russian company that sent it to Syria will demand that Turkey return it.

Lavrov’s comments came a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the cargo included ammunition. Earlier in the day, a Russian newspaper report said the plane was carrying Russian radar parts for Syrian missile defense systems but not weapons.

12 boxes of radar parts

The plane was loaded with 12 boxes containing parts for radars used in the Syrian army’s missile defense systems, Kommersant quoted sources in the arms export industry as saying. The sources told the paper that the cargo needed no special documentation as it posed no risk to the crew of the plane or the aircraft itself.

“This is not a weapon. If a person takes a radio receiver that has been switched off onto the plane then does this pose a threat for the airliner or the passengers?” asked the source. “No international laws were violated.” The spokesman of Russia’s weapons export agency Rosoboronexport Vyacheslav Davidenko denied “there was any cargo belonging to us” on the plane, as Erdoğan had implied.

Compiled from Reuter, AP and AFP stories by the Daily news staff.