Russia’s deputy prime minister and foreign economic relations minister, Oleg Davydov, stated yesterday that Moscow objects to a contract for the delivery of 320 Ukrainian T-80 UD tanks to Pakistan. Kiev signed the contract "without consulting Russia and against Russia’s state interests," Davydov asserted. Davydov raised Russian concerns that the deal could strengthen Pakistan militarily in relation to India. New Delhi is a major importer of Russian arms. Davydov announced that Russia will withhold the license for the export to Ukraine of certain Russian-made accessories to the tanks. (Itar-Tass, February 19)
The Ukrainian tanks are manufactured at the Malyshev plant in Kharkiv. A Pakistani delegation has just arrived there to take delivery of a first consignment of 15 tanks. The Ukrainian-Pakistani contract, signed last year, is worth more than $600 million and represents the Ukrainian arms industry’s most significant breakthrough to date on the international market. While this transaction was above board, Ukrainian companies have been accused of engaging in illegal arms sales. On February 18, the Ukrainian parliament set up a commission to look into such activities. (UNIAR, 18 February)
Dushanbe Killing Spree Targets Russian Soldiers.