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    Russian arms exports could be worth about $7.5 billion in 2008

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    Russia could export weaponry worth about $7.5 billion in 2008, the head of the Russian Technology state-run corporation said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia could export weaponry worth about $7.5 billion in 2008, the head of the Russian Technology state-run corporation said on Thursday.

    Russia has almost doubled annual arms exports since 2000, becoming the world's second-largest exporter of conventional arms after the United States.

    "I think next year [2008] will see a definite increase [in arms exports], reaching about $7.5 billion," Sergei Chemezov said, adding that Russia's arms exports in 2007 totaled over $7 billion.

    Russia exports weapons to about 80 countries. Among key buyers of Russian-made weaponry are China, India, Algeria, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia and Serbia.

    The most popular types of weaponry bought from Russia are Su- and MiG-family fighters, Mi-family helicopters, main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.

    Russia also maintains traditionally strong positions in sales of small arms, anti-tank and air defense missile systems.

    U.S. authorities have repeatedly called on Russia to stop arms deliveries to countries whose political regimes Washington disapproves of, including Iran and Syria.

    However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in October that Russia would not take into consideration attempts to impose arms deal restrictions, "based on unilateral and politicized assessments."

    He also said deliveries of Russian weapons were aimed exclusively at increasing the defense capability of the countries receiving them, and at maintaining their stability.

     

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