Russia To Deliver Arms to Israel?

It is not known, though, if certain agreements have been already achieved

President Putin released a rather interesting statement yesterday. Making a speech at the meeting of the committee for military and technical cooperation, Putin said he had discussed an opportunity of delivering Russian arms to Israel. The question has been discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Vladimir Putin did not specify, if there had been certain agreements achieved. Yet, the president emphasized that the sides had started the new stage of cooperation on the issue.

Until recently, Russia has not delivered arms to Israel. However, Russian and Israeli defense companies have been cooperating with each other for several years already. The most known example of such cooperation is the modernization of the Ka-50 helicopter. An Israeli company participated in the re-equipment of the helicopter's navigation system. They attempted to sell a batch of modernized helicopters (they were called Ka-50-2 Erdogan) to Turkey. However, the endeavor was not a success because of political circumstances that appeared as a result of the USA's pressure on the Turkish government.

It became known yesterday that George W. Bush's administration had addressed to the US Congress with a request to assign over two billion dollars for the military help for Israel. Most likely, the Congress will comply with the request. Congressmen have already agreed to assign $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, and the military help to the American ally does not seem a hardship at this point. Of course, if the Congress assigns the claimed sum, the money will be spent on purchasing arms in the US.

In addition to the military and technical cooperation, Russia and Israel are competitors. Israel has recently taken the second place on the amount of arms deliveries to India. To crown it all, Russian Il-76 aircraft is often outfitted with Israeli radar equipment.

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Author`s name Olga Savka