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Russia Refutes Purported Air Defense Sale to Azerbaijan

The Russian state-controlled weapons firm Rosoboronexport yesterday refuted reports it would send advanced air defenses to Azerbaijan, RIA Novosti reported (see GSN, July 22).

"There is no contract between Russia and Azerbaijan on the delivery of S-300 air defense systems to this country," a spokesman for the company said (RIA Novosti, July 29).

The Russian business publication Vedomosti reported the firm would provide Azerbaijan with two S-300 PMU-2 battalions capable of destroying cruise missiles and aircraft, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Rosoboronexport and Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry finalized the sale in 2009, Vedomosti reported. The sale, worth no less than $300 million, could be the highest-value heavy weapons sale to a former Soviet nation, according to the report.

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Algeria have already bought S-300 systems, which have a range greater than 90 miles. Iran is also still waiting on its order of S-300 missiles (Xinhua News Agency, July 29).

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