Ukraine OK’s $2.5 billion arms deal with Iraq

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine will provide Iraq with $2.5 billion worth of weapons and military equipment under a deal intended to shore up Iraq’s fledgling armed forces before the planned pullout of U.S. troops, a senior Ukrainian lawmaker said Wednesday.
Anatoly Grytsenko, head of the Ukrainian parliament’s security and defense committee, said the agreement with the Iraqi ministry of defense calls for Ukraine to produce and deliver 420 BTR-4 armored personnel carriers, six AN-32B military transport planes and other military hardware to Iraq.
« It’s worth around $2.5 billion, » Grytsenko, who previously served as Ukraine’s defense minister, said after being briefed on the deal Wednesday by state arms exporter UkrSpetsExport. UkrSpetsExport, which is handling the contracts, declined numerous requests for comment Wednesday.
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« The deals have been concluded. They are now formalizing the contracts, » Grytsenko said. « The contract is to be carried out in stages and, from what I was told, just the first stage is worth $400 million. »
Grytsenko said the deal also included repair work on two Mi-8T military helicopters for Iraq.
Power shifts
President Barack Obama laid out plans to withdraw troops from Iraq and pass security operations in the country back to Iraqi police and armed forces.

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