18:14 GMT +319 December 2018
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    Lebanese army soldiers open fire during clashes with Islamic militants in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon.

    'US & UK Concerned About Probable Supply of Russian Weapons to Lebanon' - Expert

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    Lebanon has accepted an offer of military aid from Russia, according to Lebanese designate Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Mr Hariri denied reports published by 'al-Akhbar' newspaper claiming that Lebanon refused to accept a few million rounds of ammunition for Kalashnikov rifles in the form of aid.

    Lebanese Middle East expert Fuad Khashish told Sputnik that Beirut was hesitant to receive military aid from Russia due to pressure on the Lebanese government. "The United States, Great Britain and even the Gulf countries are concerned about the probable supply of Russian weapons to Lebanon. They see this as a threat to their interests," said the expert.

    READ MORE: PM's Office Denies Lebanon Turned Down Russian Ammo Aid Offer

    Americans are currently the largest military donors and main suppliers of military equipment to Beirut. As part of the US assistance program for the Lebanese Armed Forces, the US has provided more than $1.5 billion in support to the Lebanese army in the form of various military hardware and trained over 30 thousand Lebanese troops. Supplies include: propeller aircrafts, artillery systems, various types of small arms, ammunition and communications equipment, armored cars and grenade launchers.

    Fuad Khashish also noted that "indeed, most of the weapons of the Lebanese army are produced in the United States or France. But at the same time, Kalashnikov rifles are widespread both among the population and in the army. Therefore, the ammunition will be in demand if not the army, then in the Ministry of Interior."

    Last week, the Lebanese newspaper 'al-Akhbar' reported that Beirut turned down an offer to receive Russian ammunition aid — a few millions of rounds for Kalashnikov assault rifles. According to the newspaper it was due to the fact that the caliber of the Russian ammunition does not meet local standards, which are focused on NATO weapons.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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