Russian news agencies reported Wednesday that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied a claim by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that "there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria." Lavrov said during a visit to Iran that Russia is completing earlier weapons contracts with Syria exclusively for air defense systems.
Clinton said Tuesday that the shipment "will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."
Lavrov says that Russia isn't providing Syria with weapons that can be used against peaceful demonstrators.
Russia, along with China, has shielded Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime from international sanctions over its violent crackdown on protesters in which more than 13,000 people have died, according to opposition groups.