Russian choppers again soon in Afghanistan

Oct. 29, 2010 at 5:10 PM

MOSCOW, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Russia has struck a deal with the West on delivering helicopters to Afghanistan.

The arrangement is to be made public at the upcoming NATO summit in Lisbon, Segodnia newspaper reported Friday.

A Russian diplomat posted to NATO headquarters in Brussels, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "But no one expects the Russian military to return to Afghanistan once again. Russia has no interest in this," adding that NATO expects that Moscow will "present the Afghans with three or four (Mi-8) helicopters" with NATO members contemplating buying a further 16 or 17 aircraft from Russia under a deal to be financed by the United States.

Dmitry Rogozin, permanent Russian NATO representative, said that there are already understandings on the purchase of the helicopters and that they will be made public in Lisbon but cautioned, "We are proceeding from the fact that it will be a question of a bilateral arrangement of Russia and the United States, not of Russia and NATO."

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