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Russia-Greece arms contract could be ready by yearend

RIA Novosti

06/12/2007 15:32 MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti) - A contract to sell around 415 BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles to Greece could be ready by the end of this year, a high-ranking Russian military source said on Thursday.

Greek media estimate the deal at over 1.2 billion euros ($1.76 billion). However, neither Greek nor Russian defense ministries have officially confirmed the agreement, first reported by Greek media on Wednesday.

"Talks on details of the contract for the delivery of Russian BMP-3s to Greece are underway. In view of the total number of fighting vehicles to be shipped to the country, the contract will be implemented within a few years," the military source told RIA Novosti.

"The principal contact details can be coordinated as soon as this year."

The purchase would be one of the largest arms deals between Russia and a NATO member state. In the 1990s, Greece acquired over $1 billion worth of Russian weapons. Russian Air Defense system TOR-M1, Kornet and Fagot antitank weapons, as well as air cushion landing craft Zubr are in service with the Greek Armed Forces.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is set to visit Russia on December 17-19.

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