Just days after Russia announced the sale of S-300 missiles to Iran, President Vladimir Putin warned Israel against retaliating by supplying arms to the Ukrainian government.
In an interview broadcast in Russia, Putin said that such a sale would be “destructive, and would only lead to another round of conflict.”
“The number of fatalities will only increase, but the result will not change,” Putin said. “This is a choice that the Israeli leadership must make. They can do whatever seems necessary to them.”
Putin defended the S-300 deal, asserting that “the U.N. Security Council never forbade the sale of the system.” Tehran, he said, had demonstrated “flexibility” in the nuclear talks, and so there was no longer any reason to hold off on the missiles, since they’re only “defensive.”
Meanwhile on Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s concern at the weekly cabinet meeting:
“Israel views with utmost gravity the supply of S-300 missiles from Russia to Iran, especially at a time when Iran is stepping up its aggression in the region and around the borders of the state of Israel.
“Israel also views with utmost gravity the fact that there is no reference to this aggression in the agreement being made between the major powers and Iran. There is no stipulation that this aggression be halted, whether at the start of the agreement or as a condition for the lifting of sanctions.
“Yesterday we saw the military parade in Tehran and Iran’s exhibition of weapons to the world. Every year the missiles are bigger and enhanced — in accuracy, strength and deadliness; however, one thing does not change. What does not change is the inscription ‘Death to Israel’ on the missiles. Against the threats that I have described, Israel will do whatever is necessary to defend the security of the state and its citizens.”