MOSCOW, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Russia will halt foreign sales of its new Iskander tactical missile systems until its own needs for them are fulfilled, an official said Wednesday.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced this month that Russia would deploy Iskanders in Kaliningrad to counter moves by the United States to build an Eastern European missile defense system. Partly because of that, Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport says it will halt exports for now, RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.
"There will be a break in Iskander supplies abroad until we have supplied the Russian armed forces with them," Nikolai Dimidyuk, a senior Rosoboronexport official, told the news agency, saying the companies producing them are not facing financial problems despite the global credit crunch.
One exception, Dimidyuk said, was Belarus, which he said would still be supplied with an Iskander-E system, a shorter-range export version of the Iskander-M, which he said is also a response to the proposed missile shield program in Poland and the Czech Republic.