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Russia begins weapon shipments to Iraq

October 17, 2013, 20:54 UTC+3

40 attack helicopters are to be provided, including Mi-28 Night Hunter

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Mi-28 gunship. Photo ITAR-TASS/ Marine Lystseva

Mi-28 gunship. Photo ITAR-TASS/ Marine Lystseva

MOSCOW, October 17. (Itar-Tass) – Russia has begun shipping military hardware to Iraq, Ali al-Musawi, advisor of the Iraqi Prime Minister Russia Today on Thursday.

The official noted that the contract “entails primarily weapon shipments to combat terrorism.” The advisor clarified that Russia will provide “helicopters which were proven to be effective during anti-terrorist operations. Special hardware to combat terrorists will also be supplied.”

Ali al-Musawi noted that “Iraq does not possess offensive weapons, as it does not hatch any plans for expansion. Bagdad only strives for securing its own sovereignty, defense of its wealth and fight against terrorism.

Iraq will receive 40 helicopters

The $4.2 billion contract was signed in 2012. In early 2013 reports on its annulment surfaced; however, Anatoly Isaykin, Director General of Rosoboronexport, announced at a press conference in February that the contract was not annulled; rather, it hasn’t come into force yet.

The agreement entails providing Iraq with 40 attack helicopters Mi-35 and Mi-28 “Night Hunter”. The first team of Iraq specialists has concluded Mi-35 flight training in the Russian Center for Military Aviation in Torzhok.

Previously Russia wrote off Iraq’s debt in exchange to expected large-scale purchases of Russian military hardware.

Traditional ties

Iraq purchased most of its military hardware in the USSR and Russia. During the Soviet era around $30.5 billion were spent on Russian arms throughout 30 years. Former deals include around 1000 planes and 350 helicopters as well as AA systems, land transport and watercraft.

Resumption of export of Russian hardware to Iraq is explained by the Iraqi armed forces being used to Russian weapons as well as diversification of suppliers – after Saddam Hussein’s regime toppled, Bagdad stared purchasing weapons in the United States. Baghdad and Washington have made arms deals with the total price of over $12 billion.

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