Moscow/Baghdad: Russia confirmed on Tuesday to signing more than $4.2 billion (Dh15.42 billion) in arms deals with Iraq during the second half of the year to make it the nation’s largest weapons supplier after the US.
A joint statement issued after talks between visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki and Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev said the deals were agreed during delegation visits this year and totalled “more than $4.2 billion”.
Earlier Russian reports in advance of Al Maliki’s first visit to Moscow in nearly four years said the contracts would all be signed jointly this week and totalled about $4.3 billion.
The negotiations reportedly covered Iraq’s purchase of 30 Mi-28 attack helicopters and 42 Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile systems that can also be used to defend against attack jets.
Further discussions were said to be under way for Iraq’s eventual acquisition of MiG-29 jets and heavy armoured vehicles along with other weaponry.
The joint statement said the deals were initially discussed as early as April and revisited again in July and August during visits to Russia by Iraqi delegations that included Defence Minister Sa’adoun Al Dulaimi.
“The delegation members familiarised themselves with the Russian military production, discussed the technical and commercial options of the offer with Rosoboronexport [state] supplier, and signed contracts worth more than $4.2 billion,” the joint statement cited by Russian news agencies said.
Al Maliki’s talks with Medvedev were due to be followed on Wednesday by a meeting with President Vladimir Putin that was expected to also focus on new Russian energy deals in the oil-rich Middle East state.
Meanwhile, a series of attacks across Iraq on Tuesday killed six people, including three soldiers and a judge, police and health officials said.
A roadside bomb struck an army patrol in Baghdad’s western suburb of Abu Ghraib in the early morning, killing three soldiers and wounding three others, police said.
In the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, gunmen fatally shot judge Abbas Al Abadi in a drive-by-shooting. Three policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol in the western part of the city, Mosul police said.
Another roadside bomb explosion killed two Kurds from the Kurdish Democratic Party as they were driving their car near the town of Tal Afar, 420km northeast of Baghdad.
Health officials at nearby hospitals confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.
Meanwhile, a parked car bomb exploded as a mini-bus drove by it in the central town of Sulaiman Bek, wounding 10 passengers, said Brigadier General Sarhat Qadir.
Violence has ebbed in Iraq in the past years, but insurgent still frequently target the country’s security forces and government officials in efforts to undermine the Shiite-led government.