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Russian arms producers concluded $7.5 billion worth of export contracts in 2014 — Putin

Russian President spoke of the country's arms production and export contracts at a meeting of Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation
Russian President Vladimir Putin TASS/Mikhail Klementiev
Russian President Vladimir Putin
© TASS/Mikhail Klementiev

MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. Russian arms manufacturers in 2014 have concluded 7.5 billion dollars worth of export contracts, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation.

“This year Russia’s arms producers have signed new export contracts totalling 7.5 billion dollars in value. As a result the overall contracts portfolio remains firmly at the 50-billion-dollar mark,” Putin said.

Putin also called for for stepping up contacts with the customary and new buyers of Russian armaments and for offering new cooperation formats, including flexible settlement schemes and loans.

“We should actively work with our traditional partners and with new customers,” the Russian president said.

“It is important to use in practice new forms of interaction with the buyers of Russian armaments and military technologies,” Putin said. “I have in mind a system of flexible settlements and lending and wide logistics support, as well as other modern and effective mechanisms of promoting products on the market.”

He recalled that the annual arms export targets would surely be met.

“At the moment foreign customers have received 10 billion dollars worth of Russian military hardware,” he said, adding that it was equivalent to 70% of the overall supplies due in 2014.

With many recipients of Russian armaments relations of long-term strategic partnership have been established, Putin said.

“For many decades we have been arming and servicing the national armed forces of these countries and training their military personnel,” he said.

He added that such close relations should be maintained, the quality of such cooperation improved and its guidelines expanded.

Putin urged wider use of Russia’s competitive edges.

“These edges are the major defence-industrial potential and Russia’s reputation of a reliable partner,” the head of state said. “And the high demand for Russian armaments is a major factor, of course.

On import substitution program in military-industrial sector amid sanctions

The import substitution program in Russia’s military-industrial sector is not as expensive as expected earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the commission on military-technical cooperation on Wednesday.

“We have approved the work plan. It is quite acceptable by terms and financial expenditures are not as big as they seemed initially,” Putin said.

He thanked colleagues involved in the development of the import substitution program and underlined that the work was conducted thoroughly.

“Everything is quite realizable,” Putin stressed.

The system of import substitution had to be introduced in Russia in connection with imposition of Western sanctions on Russia for its position on Ukraine and Moscow’s countersanctions.

Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March after a coup in Ukraine in February.

The West announced new sectoral penalties against Russia in late July over Moscow’s position on Ukrainian events, in particular, what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in mass protests in Ukraine’s war-torn south-east.

In response, Russia imposed on August 6 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.

Russia has repeatedly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in hostilities in the southeast of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said October 30 that while pursuing a policy of import substitution, Russia should not confine itself to replacement of goods imports but should also focus on substitution of foreign developments.

On situation in eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday shelling continues in Ukraine despite Minsk agreements.

“The civil war does not subside in Ukraine near Russia’s borders,” Putin said at a meeting of the commission on military-technical cooperation. “Despite Minsk agreements, shelling of peaceful cities continues. Civilians are dying.”

Putin called the situation in Ukraine one of the factors that complicate the geopolitical situation.

“Many cooperation chains, including with Ukrainian partners and enterprises, have been broken,” he said.

According to the UN, more than 4,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s south-east as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.

The ceasefire took effect the same day but has reportedly occasionally been violated.