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Egypt signs $3.5bn arms deal with Russia

September 18, 2014 at 11:55 am

Egypt has agreed to a $3.5 billion arms deal with Russia, Interfax news agency reported, citing the head of a Russian state arms agency.

Speaking at an arms fair in South Africa, Alexander Fomin, chief of the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, said that a preliminary deal had been reached during the trade event.

The world’s second-largest arms exporter, Russia, seeks to strengthen military ties with Egypt after the cooling of relations between Cairo and its old ally Washington, which led to the freezing of some aspects of military cooperation between the two countries.

The head of Rosoboronexport, the state intermediary agency for Russia’s defence-related products, said that the value of arms orders had increased in spite of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow because of the crisis in Ukraine.

The Interfax news agency quoted Rosoboronexport’s Director Anatoly Isaikin as saying: “Today our orders portfolio stands at $38.7bn. This is one of the strongest figures Rosoboronexport has had in recent years.”

The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia’s arms industry following what they believe is Moscow’s role in increasing unrest and separatism in Ukraine.

Europe and the US accuse Russia of sending weapons and fighters to support separatists who are fighting the Ukrainian government in Crimea. Moscow denies the accusation.