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Tech-Challenged Russia Ready To Import Foreign Arms For The First Time

For the first time in modern history, Russia is turning to foreign weapons manufacturers to boost its military arsenal. Russia’s armed forces have already signed contracts with Italy and France.

Italian-built Iveco LMV is on Russia's radar (Wikipedia)
Italian-built Iveco LMV is on Russia's radar (Wikipedia)


MOSCOWRussia has long been one of the world's foremost arms suppliers. But now, for the first time in its history, the Russian military is importing military equipment and arms as well.

In April 2010, the head of the Russian armed forces announced that the army had reviewed its purchasing politics and decided it would no longer refuse to buy military products from abroad. As of today, the Russian military has signed contracts to purchase armored vehicles from Italy and two helicopter carriers from France. There are plans for additional purchases from abroad, since it would often take too long for similarly high-tech products to be developed in Russia.

It has been clear for some time now that the Russian military would need to import technology, but economic problems prevented it from happening until recently. As the military examined its equipment goals for the next decade, it became clear that the choice was either to buy domestic products – which would mean weapons that did not meet the technological requirements – or to buy western technology that Russia would then be able to adapt. In the end, the military chose the second option.

President Dmitry Medvedev has said, on several occasions, that the military should only buy high-quality products at competitive prices. If domestic suppliers cannot meet those requirements, then Russia shouldn't hesitate to buy abroad. "There's no need to buy junk," said Medvedev.

The Russian army does classify some military technology as too important for national security to be purchased abroad. For example, the Russian missile system is considered one of the country's most important strategic advantages. However, the Russian military recognized that domestic producers lag behind their foreign counterparts when it comes to sniper weapons, drones and armored vehicle technology.

One of the most important factors in its decision to begin importing weapons is money. Russian military technology is nearly always cheaper than its Western counterparts. But now that the Russian military has a more generous equipment budget, it can afford the higher prices.

Read the full article in Russian by Ivan Safronov

Photo - Wikipedia

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Vulnerable Are The Russians In Crimea?

Ukraine has stepped up attacks on the occupied Crimean peninsula, and Russia is doing all within its power to deny how vulnerable it has become.

Photograph of the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters with smoke rising above it after a Ukrainian missile strike.

September 22, 2023, Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia: Smoke rises over the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters after a Ukrainian missile strike.

Kyrylo Danylchenko

This article was updated Sept. 26, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Russian authorities are making a concerted effort to downplay and even deny the recent missile strikes in Russia-occupied Crimea.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Media coverage in Russia of these events has been intentionally subdued, with top military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov offering no response to an attack on Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, or the alleged downing last week of Russian Su-24 aircraft by Ukrainian Air Defense.

The response from this and other strikes on the Crimean peninsula and surrounding waters of the Black Sea has alternated between complete silence and propagating falsehoods. One notable example of the latter was the claim that the Russian headquarters building of the Black Sea fleet that was hit Friday was empty and that the multiple explosions were mere routine training exercises.

Ukraine claimed on Monday that the attack killed Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. "After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored," the Ukrainian special forces said via Telegram.

But Sokolov was seen on state television on Tuesday, just one day after Ukraine claimed he'd been killed. The Russian Defense Ministry released footage of the admiral partaking in a video conference with top admirals and chiefs, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, though there was no verification of the date of the event.

Moscow has been similarly obtuse following other reports of missiles strikes this month on Crimea. Russian authorities have declared that all missiles have been intercepted by a submarine and a structure called "VDK Minsk", which itself was severely damaged following a Ukrainian airstrike on Sept. 13. The Russians likewise dismissed reports of a fire at the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, attributing it to a mundane explosion caused by swamp gas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refrained from commenting on the military situation in Crimea and elsewhere, continuing to repeat that everything is “proceeding as planned.”

Why is Crimea such a touchy topic? And why is it proving to be so hard to defend?

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