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Putin says Russia’s weapons are superior to West, vows more trade

Speaking at arms show, Putin hailed the Russian military’s action in Ukraine and thanked Moscow’s allies for their support.

August 16, 2022
16 August 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday vowed to expand military cooperation with the country’s allies, noting that Moscow is ready to offer them its most advanced weapons.

Speaking at the opening of an annual arms show outside Moscow that caters to foreign customers, Putin said that Russia’s arms exports play an important role in the development of a “multipolar word,” the term used by the Kremlin to describe its efforts to offset what it perceives as US global domination.

Putin insisted Russian weaponry was years ahead of the competition.

Russia cherished its strong ties with Latin America, Asia and Africa and was ready to supply allies there with a full gamut of weapons from small arms to armoured vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft and drones, he said. “Almost all of them have been used more than once in real combat operations.”

He said Russia’s offer included high-precision weapons and robotics. “Many of them are years, or maybe decades ahead of their foreign counterparts, and in terms of tactical and technical characteristics they are significantly superior to them.”

Russia ranks second only to the United States with arms sales of around $15 billion a year, nearly a fifth of the global export market. From 2017-2021, 73% of those sales went to just four countries – India, China, Egypt and Algeria – according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Ukraine war a ‘poor advertisement’

Western military analysts said Russia’s struggles against a much smaller adversary in Ukraine could undermine Putin’s sales pitch.

“With the collapse of economic relations with the West, Russia is even more dependent on the arms trade than it was before, so it’s not surprising that Putin is so keen to promote them to as many non-Western customers as he can,” said Ruth Deyermond, senior lecturer in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

“The big problem for him is that Russia’s war against Ukraine has been a disaster for Russian military credibility – their performance has been a very poor advertisement for their weapons.”

Asked which Russian weapons systems had performed worst in Ukraine, retired U.S. General Ben Hodges cited assessments by U.S.defence officials that Russia was suffering failure rates as high as 60% for some of its precision-guided missiles.

Western sanctions imposed against Russia also raised questions about its ability to source components and provide maintenance for the weapons it sells, added Hodges, a former commander of US Army forces in Europe.

“I’d be very concerned as a prospective buyer about the quality of the equipment and the ability of the Russian Federation industry to sustain it,” he said.

Ukraine has made effective use of US-supplied weaponry, especially the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), and Russia has taken a series of major blows. These include explosions at an airbase in the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula last week that destroyed at least eight aircraft on the ground, according to satellite images.

Nevertheless, Putin said the forces of Russia and its proxies in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine were fulfilling all their tasks.

“Step by step they are liberating the land of Donbas,” he said.

Putin hailed the Russian military’s action in Ukraine, which has triggered massive Western sanctions, and thanked Moscow’s allies for their support.

“We highly appreciate that we have many allies, partners and people who share our thinking on various continents,” he said.

Putin, whose invasion of Ukraine has been widely condemned as a breach of international law, said leaders of Moscow’s allies “choose a sovereign, independent course of development and want to collectively solve the issues of global and regional security on the basis of international law, shared responsibility and mutual interests, thus contributing to upholding multipolar world.”

Putin didn’t name any country in particular, but noted that “Russia sincerely values its historically strong, friendly and trusting relations with countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa.”

“We are ready to offer our allies and partners the most advanced types of weapons: from firearms, armor and artillery to warplanes and drones.” the Russian leader said.

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