Russia confirms drones deal with Israel

April 13th, 2009 - 11:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, April 13 (DPA) Russia concluded its first weapons deal with Israel, purchasing unmanned spy planes valued at around $49 million, a spokesman for the Russia Defence Ministry in Moscow told daily Izvestiya Monday.
According to a military export cited by the paper, the purchase was in reaction to the August 2008 war in the south Caucasus - where Georgia successfully employed such drones against Russia.

Moscow made the deal despite objections from Israel’s political adversaries Iran and Syria, which are also customers of Russia’s military hardware.

According to Deputy Defence Minister Vladimir Popovkin, Russia was purchasing the drones for test purposes.

“We wanted to show our domestic weapons producers among others what needs our army had,” Popovkin said, adding that Russia’s weapon’s industry had to “familiarize” itself with Israeli construction of the Israeli drone.

“In a war we would of course deploy our own products,” the deputy minister said.

According to Russian media, the foreign purchase of military technology was the first by Russia since 1940. A number of Russian parliamentarians voted against the plan.

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