Dmitry Medvedev, now President of Russia, examines a Yak airplane at the Zhukovsky airbase outside Moscow
Syria has signed a $550 million (425 million euro) contract to purchase 36 Yak-130 advanced training fighter planes from Russia, the Kommersant business daily reported on Monday. © Natalia Kolesnikova - AFP/File
Dmitry Medvedev, now President of Russia, examines a Yak airplane at the Zhukovsky airbase outside Moscow
AFP
Last updated: January 23, 2012

Syria signs Russian military jet deal

Syria has signed a $550 million (425 million euro) contract to purchase 36 Yak-130 advanced training fighter planes from Russia, the Kommersant business daily reported on Monday.

The deal was signed in December with Russia's Rosoboronexport state defence corporation, Kommersant cited a source close to the agency as saying, adding that production of the jets would begin once the advance payment was made.

The two-seater entered serial production in 2009, with the defence ministry placing an order for 55 of the combat trainers from the Irkut defence corporation, according to Russian press.

The jets destined for Syria will be built separately from the ones commissioned by the Russian air force, Kommersant said.

"As soon as Syria transfers the advance to Russia, the factory will immediately assume the assembly of the second set for Syria," the unnamed source told the paper.

A Rosoboronexport spokesman declined to comment.

The United States has expressed repeated concerns over Russia's military trade ties with Syria, which have continued despite the violent crackdown on protests pursued by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia, which along with China recently blocked UN Security Council action against Assad, has defended the ties as legal under international law.

"We are only trading items with Syria that are not banned by international law," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week.

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