October 9, 2012 / 11:21 AM / 8 years ago

Iraq buys $4.2 billion in Russian weapons: document

Mi-26 (bottom) and Mi-28 helicopters perform during the MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, August 19, 2011. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

GORKI, Russia (Reuters) - Iraq has signed contracts to buy weapons from Russia worth more than $4.2 billion recently, according to a Russian government document issued on Tuesday at a meeting between Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vocally opposed the U.S-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 but Moscow has since sought energy and arms deals with Baghdad and the contracts mean Iraq is now one of Russia’s biggest weapons buyers.

The contracts were signed during visits to Russia by Iraq’s acting defense chief in April, July and August, the document showed. It gave no further details.

The Russian daily newspaper Vedomosti reported late last month that contracts worth $4.3 million were being agreed ahead of Maliki’s visit. It said they included deals for 30 Mi-28NE combat helicopters and 42 Pantsir-S1 mobile rocket launchers.

Russia delivered about $12 billion in weapons and signed about $3.7 billion in new arms contracts last year, according to Russian defense and security think-tank CAST.

Reporting by Olesya Astakhova; Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Andrew Osborn

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