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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Military Denies U.S. Arms Report

A Russian military official on Wednesday denied a U.S. congressional report that put Russia ahead of France and the United States in arms deals with developing countries, Interfax reported.

A report released last week by the Congressional Research Service said Russia had concluded agreements worth $7 billion -- or 23.2 percent of all deals sealed with developing countries in 2005.

It put France in second place, with $6.3 billion, or 20.9 percent, and the United States came in third with $6.2 billion or 20.5 percent.

According to the report, however, the United States delivered more weapons than the others that year -- worth some $8.1 billion, or 45.8 percent of all such deliveries. Russia came in second, delivering $2.7 billion, or 15.2 percent, and Britain was third, with $2.4 billion, or 13.6 percent.

"We seek to become the leader, there is no denying it," Interfax quoted Alexander Denisov, deputy head of the Federal Military Technical Cooperation Service, as saying at an aviation and space show in China.

"If we ever leave the United States behind, [that would be] excellent. But this is not now the case, unfortunately," Denisov said. "I have no idea what methods the report used to compile its data. In fact, there are other sources that give quite a different picture of the situation."

The U.S. report said that Russia had concluded $5.4 billion worth of arms deals in 2004.

"Russia's status as a leading supplier of arms to developing nations stems from an increasingly successful effort to overcome the significant economic and political problems associated with the dissolution of the former Soviet Union," the report said.

It said Russia had developed good financing and payment arrangements as well as extensive licensed production agreements to increase its share of the market.

But it also said Russia faced an uncertain future in the field, since it does not have major research and development efforts under way.

China and India remain among Russia's biggest weapons clients. Iran also struck several deals with Russia in 2005, including for the purchase of 29 TOR-M1 (SA-15 Gauntlet) surface-to-air defense systems valued at more than $700 million, the report said. Another 2005 deal has Russia upgrading Iran's Su-24 and MiG-29 aircraft and T-72 battle tanks.

Russia also agreed in 2005 to sell 10 Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters to Venezuela for about $100 million, the report said.