Russia has agreed to sell 4.2 billion dollars' worth of top-of-the-line weaponry to Iraq, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
The Russian news agency cited materials prepared for Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, but not yet made public, as the source of its report. The contracts reportedly were signed in recent months, dpa reported.
The report came as Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was in Moscow on the second day of a three-day state visit, which was to include a meeting with Medvedev.
Russia has promised to sell Iraq 30 Mi-28NE (NATO designation HAVOC) attack helicopters, and 42 Pantsir-S1E (NATO designation SA-22) air-defence systems, the report said. The Mi-28 and Pantsir are new-generation weapons issued to the Russian Army in limited numbers.
Discussions were in progress on sales of Russian fighter jets and armoured vehicles to the Iraqi Army, the report said. The size of the reported Russian deal is less that half the value of contracted US military sales to Iraq, according to the US State Department.
Iraq has initiated 12.3 billion dollars worth of military sales with the United States, making the military support relationship with Iraq "very broad and very deep," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington.
She said specific questions about the reported military sales would have to be answered by Russian officials, but indicated the US was not annoyed by business between Iraq and Russia.
"We're doing some 12.3 billion dollars worth of military business with Iraq," Nuland said, "so I don't think one needs to be concerned about that relationship being anything but the strongest."