| ST PETERSBURG, Russia
ST PETERSBURG, Russia Nov 2 Russia lost tens of
billions of dollars in potential revenues from arms deals with
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's fall, the official in charge of
Russia's arms exports said on Wednesday.
Russia, the world's No. 2 arms exporter, has frequently
cited losses of $4 billion in Libyan arms contracts.
"The figure of $4 billion is only nominal, the real lost
revenue could top tens of billions of dollars," said Mikhail
Dmitriyev, the head of Russia's Federal Service on Military and
"There is no doubt there were losses... We have no contacts
with the new Libyan leadership in the (defence) field any
longer," he told reporters in the northern city of St
The Kremlin has been criticised by some diplomats for its
ambiguous stance in the Libya crisis: failing to support the
Western-backed revolt against Gaddafi, backing sanctions against
him and allowing Western military action.
Such was the discord within the Russian elite over Libya
that it provoked a rare public disagreement between Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev.
Russian companies have invested hundreds of millions of
dollars in oil and gas exploration there, and Russian Railways
was building a railway under a 2.2 billion euro ($3
Arms contracts signed under Gaddafi's rule made up 12
percent of Russia's 2010 arms exports, worth a total of $10
billion. An arms embargo imposed in February caused Russia to
forfeit $4 billion in new contracts.
Moscow shipped Gaddafi the guns and rockets that were used
in vain against rebel forces that came to form the interim
ruling council. The council has consolidated its grip on the
country after Gaddafi's capture and death late last month.
Russia supported an initial U.N. Security Council resolution
imposing sanctions on Gaddafi and his government, but abstained
from a resolution in March that allowed military intervention.
The nation's oil firms had a variety of interests in Libya,
ranging from a landmark asset swap deal between Italy's ENI
and the oil arm of state gas company Gazprom
to a crude supply relationship between Libya and a major
Mediterranean refinery where LUKOIL is a shareholder.
Medvedev's envoy to Africa, Mikhail Margelov, said on
Wednesday that Gazprom Neft and ENI have revived their
joint venture in Libya and that he saw no reason for other major
contracts to be reviewed.
"I see no reason for the Libyan authorities to review these
contracts. They bring profits both to us and them. We are not
going to lose any of oil and infrastructure projects, I am sure
of that," he said.
But Gazprom Neft's CEO Alexander Dyukov told reporters last
Friday that the deal, in which Gazprom was to take over the
Elephant project in Libya as part of a swap for gas assets in
Russia, was still subject to force majeure.