Moscow: A newspaper is reporting that Russia has signed a contract to sell combat jets to Syria in a show of support for President Bashar Assad`s regime.
The business daily Kommersant said on Monday without identifying its source that the USD 550-million deal envisages the delivery of 36 Yak-130 aircraft. A spokesman for Russia`s Rosoboronexport state arms trader refused to comment on the report.
If confirmed, the deal would mark an open defiance of international efforts to put pressure on Assad`s regime, which has faced broad condemnation for its brutal crackdown on an uprising. The UN says more than 5,400 people have died over 10 months.
Russia`s foreign minister said last week that Moscow doesn`t consider it necessary to offer an explanation or excuses over suspicions that a Russian ship had delivered munitions to Syria despite an EU arms embargo.