Russia admits ship 'stopped' by Britain was carrying attack choppers for Syria
Moscow, June 22 (ANI): Russia has confirmed for the first time that the cargo ship MV Alaed, which was stopped off the coast of Scotland, was carrying refurbished Russian attack helicopters and components for Syria.
"The ship was carrying air defense systems, which can only be used to repel foreign aggression, and not against peaceful demonstrators, and yes-it was carrying three refurbished helicopters," ABC News quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as saying.
The Alaed had to turn back after its British insurer pulled its coverage following pressure from the British Government because it was believed to be carrying weapons.
Russia has come under international criticism for continuing its arms sales to Syria, despite the increasing violence over the past year in the country. avrov said it was 'completely false' to charge that Russia had 'delivered helicopters which were used against demonstrators.'
He said the choppers aboard the Alaed were disassembled. 'They need to be rebuilt, taking around three months.'
The ship is scheduled to arrive in the Russian port of Murmansk on Saturday, which is near its far northern border with Finland, where it will drop its Curacao flag and re-register as a Russian ship.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton complained publicly that Russia was sending the aircraft back to Syria despite reports that the Syrian government had stepped up their use in attacks that have killed civilians. (ANI)
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