Russia Denies Carrying Helicopters to Syria
The owners of the Russian cargo ship whose insurance coverage was revoked by the British authorities and was returned from the waters of Scotland denied accusations that it was involved in illegal activities of carrying helicopters to Syria, as the media reports were announcing on Tuesday.
In a statement given by Femco, the shipping company based in Sahalin Islands, which operated the MV Alaed ship, it was said that the company was not involved in any illegal activity and that it would not blemish its reputation by getting involved in such actions.
Femco said that reports about MV Alaed’s illegal actions were inaccurate and that the ship was making a regular commercial voyage in full accord to the international laws and sea regulations.
Reports emerged in the international media on Tuesday that the NV Alaed was stopped near the Scottish coastline yesterday, that the insurance holder cancelled its policy and that the ship was carrying Russia Mi-25 helicopters, known as “flying tanks,” to the Syrian port of Tartus, where Russia holds the only military base outside its national territory.
The insurance holder is said by Huffington Post to be the British insurance company Standard Club, which removed all cover from ships owned by the Russian company, after the British government informed the company that doing otherwise could be construed as a breach of European Union embargo on Syria.
In a statement cited by Huffington Post, the insurer said it was made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying weapons to Syria, and that they informed the ship’s owner that the coverage ceased immediately given the nature of the voyage.
In a statement from the Foreign Office it was said that the British authorities were aware of a ship carrying a “consignment of refurbished Russian-made helicopters” to Syria. The statement reminded that the Foreign Office had told the Russian counterpart earlier this month that all defense shipment to Syria must stop in consistency with the efforts of the international community to stop Assad’s regime from killing civilians.
The European Union has imposed a ban on direct selling supplies to Syria, including weapons and the mere providing of insurances for such supplies would be considered a violation of the ban.
Russian Foreign Ministry reiterated that Russia was not interesting in defending the regime of Assad, but the chance of the people in Syria to determine their own destiny. The ministry denied any implication in carrying weapons to Syria.
The incident involving Alaed comes at a time when the international community is desperately trying to put an end to violence as it is reported that as many as 30 people were killed on Wednesday alone across Syria in different conflicts between the governmental forces and the rebel troops.
The peacekeeping mission in Syria was reported to have terminated its activity on Tuesday, as the observers were ordered to base because of violence.
On Tuesday, the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pressed the United States into admitting Iran as part of the team. The United Nations is attempting to create a contact group, which would include the UNSC permanent members and the local powerhouses, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.
The group is expected to find ways of ending the conflict between the Syrian government and its citizens, and to deal with the transition to democracy and with the fate of Bashar al-Assad and his aides. Russia and China insist upon a transition made by the population of Syria.11