Russia's foreign minister said Friday that a civilian Syrian jetliner impounded by Turkey on suspicion of transporting Russian military cargo illicitly to Syria was carrying only electronic components for a radar station, and that such equipment fell within the bounds of international agreements.
"We have no secrets," the minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said in a televised statement. "We have studied the situation: there were no weapons on this airplane, of course, and there could not be. On the airplane there was cargo, which a legal Russian shipper sent via legal means to a legal customer."
Mr. Lavrov's statement was the most detailed public explanation yet from Russia in its dispute with Turkey over the Moscow-to-Damascus flight, which was intercepted by Turkish warplanes on Wednesday and forced to land in Ankara, where the 35 passengers and crew were forced to wait for hours. Turkish inspectors examined the aircraft and impounded what Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey described on Thursday as Russian munitions bound for Syria's Defense Ministry.
The plane was permitted to leave on Thursday but both Russia and Syria protested the Turkish actions, Russia demanded a further explanation and Syria said it would file a formal complaint with international aviation authorities.
Source and full story: Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 12 Oct 2012