Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has criticised the failure of the European Union to agree upon a new arms embargo, and insisted that the delivery of sophisticated surface-to-air missiles may help restrain "hot heads" and "warmongers".
Speaking to Russia Today he said:
Those systems by definition cannot be used by militant groups on the battlefield. We consider this delivery a factor of stabilization.
We believe that moves like this one to a great degree restrain some hotheads from escalating the conflict to the international scale, from involving external forces.
Fears are growing of an arms race in Syria after EU countries agreed they could arm rebels while Russia could give missiles to the regime.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said a "clear message" had been sent to Assad's regime after the EU decided to lift the Syrian arms embargo.