WASHINGTON, June 13 (UPI) -- Russian weapons supplied to Syrian forces are for defensive purposes and the contracts involved aren't illegal, a deputy at a Russian arms dealer said.
Igor Sevastyanov, deputy chief executive officer at Russian arms trader Rosoboronexport, said Moscow would fulfill its contract to supply a mobile gun and missile air defense system to Syrian forces.
"The contract was signed long ago and we supply armaments that are self-defense rather than attack weapons, and there can be no talk about any violations by Russia or Rosoboronexport either de jure or de facto," he was quoted by Russia's state-run news service RIA Novosti as saying.
Human Rights Watch this week objected to the presence of Rosoboronexport at an arms exhibition in France, saying it wasn't "acceptable to do business as usual with a company arming a government engaged in atrocities against its people."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this week that there were concerns that Russian attack helicopters were on their way to Syria, "which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."
Sevastyanov said the contracts with Damascus don't violate international law.
"If the international community adopts other decisions, they will be fulfilled by Russia," he said.
Russia, one of Syria's largest arms suppliers, objects to formal censuring of Damascus at the U.N. Security Council for the ongoing bloodshed.