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Russian arms deals get mixed review

June 24, 2013 at 12:05 PM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, June 24 (UPI) -- The Russian Defense Ministry said it signed more than $20 billion worth of contracts for 2013, about 80 percent of the quota for the year.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said Monday the $22.5 billion worth of arms procurement contracts awarded so far represent 82.4 percent of this year's quota, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

RIA Novosti reported the ministry has faced criticism for not using state funds to update its arsenal effectively. The government said it was working to address "problem areas" like strategic submarines and the delivery of combat ships beyond 2020.

Russia's defense industry has faced criticism for supporting its existing foreign contracts with the Syrian government. Moscow said it's skeptical of supporting armed rebels in Syria for fear of escalating the crisis.

Russia counts Syria as one of its primary weapons consumers. Russian business daily Kommersant reported Saturday, meanwhile, the government was working to find alternatives for an air defense system for Iran.

Russia in 2012 scrapped an $800 million deal to supply Iran with an anti-missile system because of international sanctions pressure on the Iranian government. Iran filed a $4 billion lawsuit in an international court of arbitration in Geneva over the missile contract.

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