Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki discussed supplies of Russian T-90 battle tanks at a meeting in St Petersburg on Tuesday, according to a Russian military official present at the meeting.
Russia’s Izvestia newspaper cited the Kremlin last week as saying Iraq had agreed to buy a “big” order of the tanks, which have been used in the Syria conflict.
Maliki had told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Monday that Baghdad wants Russia to play a bigger role in Iraq so that there is a balanced policy that does not allow a “foreign political entity” to impose its agenda in Iraq.
Russian military analyst Ruslan Pukhov told the paper the deal could cover deliveries of several hundred T-90 tanks, and that the contract may exceed $1 billion.
When asked if the deal was discussed on Tuesday, Dmitry Shugaev, head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said: “It was touched upon.”
Iraq and Russia have a $4.2 billion outstanding arms deal that was signed by the then PM Maliki on a visit to Moscow in 2012.
The deal was put on hold amid a corruption and bribery scandal involving senior Iraqi defense officials