(Reuters) - Moscow's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport denied a media report on Thursday which said Azerbaijan had purchased anti-aircraft missile systems worth $300 million from Russia.
"We know nothing about this contract," Russian news agencies quoted Rosoboronexport spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko as saying.
"Rosoboronexport has no information about deliveries of S-300 missiles to Azerbaijan and has no contractual obligations whatsoever on this matter." He did not elaborate.
Citing Russian arms industry sources, Russia's Vedomosti business daily reported earlier on Thursday that Azerbaijan last year signed a deal with Rosoboronexport to purchase two batteries of S-300 anti-aircraft systems. If the report had been true, it would have been the largest single arms purchase by one of Moscow's former Soviet satellites.
Oil-producing, mainly Muslim Azerbaijan has spent billions of dollars over the past decade on building up its armed forces in an effort to tilt the balance in a long-running conflict with Armenia over the rebel region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
A ceasefire was agreed in 1994, but Azerbaijan -- host to oil majors including BP, ExonnMobil and Chevron -- has threatened to use force to take back Karabakh, a mainly Armenian-populated territory that declared independence.
Armenia has traditionally been Russia's chief strategic ally in the South Caucasus, but Moscow has in recent years developed closer ties with Azerbaijan as it vies with the West for influence over oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea.
Russia has put on hold delivery of the S-300 system to Iran after throwing its support behind new United Nations sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program. Opponents of the Iran deal say the S-300s could shift the balance of power in the region by undermining Israel's ability to use air power to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities.
In Russia's armed forces, an S-300 battery normally consists of four truck-mounted installations, each with four missiles held in metal tubes.