MOSCOW, April 4. /TASS/. A plant to produce Kalashnikov assault rifles in Venezuela will go into operation by the end of 2019, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez told reporters after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Tuesday.
"The plant will begin its work by the end of next year, the year 2019," he said. "We constantly monitor the construction works. It should be noted that this plant is of strategic importance for Venezuela’s independence and its armed forces."
Venezuela’s Vice-President for Economics and Finance, Castro Soteldo, earlier told the media the plant was expected to achieve capacity operation in 2018.
The plant that will assemble Kalashnikov assault rifles is being built under the contract signed in July 2006. Venezuelan specialists are expected to launch the full-fledged licensed production of the AK-103 assault rifle and the plant is planned to manufacture about 25,000 assault rifles annually. Besides, the ammunition production plant will manufacture more than 50 million rounds per year. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in December 2016 that the plants would start working to full capacity in 2019.