Russian president declares arms exports exceed 6 billion dollar in 2005

President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia 's arms exports exceeded US$6 billion ( Ђ 5 billion) last year, setting a new post-Soviet record.

"Another height has been cleared in Russian arms exports," Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying. "The aggregate plan for 2005 was exceeded by 20 percent and delivery volumes exceeded US$6 billion ( Ђ 5 billion). This is a record figure for recent times."

Speaking at a meeting of the Military and Technical Cooperation Committee Putin noted that Russia 's arms order book had swelled over the year by 61 percent.

The Soviet Union was exporting weapons worth an estimated US$20 billion a year during the 1980s, but most were provided to Soviet allies on a credit or barter basis or even free of charge.

While Putin said the customer base for Russian military hardware had expanded including a potentially major deal with Algeria its "main partners" were still China and India .

Earlier military officials had said that together the two countries accounted for about 70 percent of Russian arms exports, reports the AP.


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