Russia announces Libyan arms deal

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced today that the country will supply US$1.8bn (1.3bn) worth of weapons to Libya. The deal, which will include small-arms and other weapons, is worth almost a quarter of last year's arms exports.

The deal was signed on Friday, during a meeting with Libyan defence minister Abu Bakr Yunis Jaber, who was in Moscow for several days. Although Russian media have speculated that the deal will contain fighter planes, tanks and anti-air missiles, the Russian government is remaining silent, hinting only that it is "not just small arms".

The deal was announced at a meeting with Vladimir Grodetsky, the director of Izhmash, a small-arms manufacturer that constructs the famous Kalashnikov rifle. Grodetsky wished to thank Putin for securing the deal, the sales of which, he said, would keep one of its plants going for two years.

Russia already has five arms deals with Libya.