Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 167

Officials in two of Russia’s neighbors — Georgia and Ukraine — talked yesterday of plans to market new military aircraft, but both will be heavily dependent on Russia for these plans to succeed. Ukraine’s minister for industrial policy, Vasyl Hureyev, said that the new Antonov An-70 military transport had been offered to Western European countries as a substitute for the far more expensive Future Large Aircraft program that several NATO nations are developing. Hureyev noted that Russia remains both the principle market and the main supplier for this new plane. He estimated that the Russian Air Force would need as many of 500 An-70s. While the aircraft will be built both in Kyiv and Samara, Ukrainian enterprises will account for only 20 percent of total production. Hureyev also warned that financing for the Ukrainian share of the program remains in doubt. "There are no realistic financing sources," he said.

In Tbilisi, Georgian defense minister Vardiko Nadibaidze said that Georgia will soon begin testing a "unique" new military aircraft. He was undoubtedly referring to a modernized version of the Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack aircraft used extensively by the Soviets in Afghanistan. It had been produced in Tbilisi. Earlier this year there were reports that the factory was working on an improved version designated Su-25TK and, by some sources, Su-39. Even more than Ukraine, Georgia will have to rely on Russian suppliers to produce this plane. Nadibadze said that Ukraine had expressed "a serious interest" in the new aircraft. (Russian agencies, September 9)

Chubais Heads Russian Campaign Against Ukrainian Sugar Imports.