Russian officials have indicatedin recent days that preparations are continuing for the delivery of S-300air-defense missile complexes to Cyprus. The commander of Russia’s Air Forcesaid on June 10 that servicemen from Cyprus are soon to begin testing theS-300s at a Russian testing site near Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea. He alsosaid that it would be decided “in August or September” whether the Air Forcewould receive the assignment to deliver the systems to Cyprus. (Russianagencies, June 10)
A Russian defense industrial official conveyed essentially the same messageto reporters, also on June 10, but appeared to be looking at a slightlydifferent timetable. The official said that the S-300 complexes had alreadycome off the production lines and were being prepared for shipment toCyprus. Advance payments had already been made by Nicosia, he added, anddelivery would take place in late July and early August. (Itar-Tass, June 10)
The June 10 comments follow a report published a day earlier claiming thatthe S-300 missiles were already in Cyprus. (Segodnya, June 9) That reportwas denied by a representative of the Russian state arms trading company,Rosvooruzhenie. He said that the complexes would be sent to Cyprus inmid-August. (AP, June 9. See the Monitor, June 10) The S-300 deal has beendenounced by Turkey, which has threatened to take military action to stopdeployment of the missiles. It has also been criticized by the UnitedStates, which claims that the arrival of the missiles could exacerbatetensions on the island and throughout the region. Moscow has that it wouldcancel delivery of the missiles only if Cyprus is demilitarized, a proposalthat has been greeted in Ankara with little enthusiasm.
AUSHEV BLAMES DZASOKHOV FOR CRISIS IN OSSETIAN-INGUSH RELATIONS.