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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian military considers buying aerial drones from Israel

RIA Novosti

14/11/2008 17:36 MOSCOW, November 14 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed on Friday that Russia was looking at purchasing pilotless aircraft from Israel, but a spokesman said a final decision had not been made.

On Thursday, Russian MP Mikhail Musatov quoted General Staff chief Nikolai Makarov as saying: "The General Staff has decided that while we don't have such drones, over the next two to three years, we will buy them from Israel."

But the Defense Ministry spokesman said Russia "must not forget about the support of domestic producers" and would buy only several samples of drones within the framework of military and technical cooperation between Russia and Israel.

Lawmaker Musatov said earlier that the unmanned reconnaissance planes at issue were those used by Georgia during August offensive on its breakaway republic of South Ossetia.

"These are unmanned reconnaissance planes, which had performed well in Georgia. They were used by Georgia at that time," he said.

Numerous flights by reconnaissance drones over South Ossetia were reported by Russian peacekeepers before Georgia launched its military offensive against the region on August 8.

Earlier reports said Georgia had acquired a total of 40 drones, worth around $2 million each, from Israel between 2006 and 2008.

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