Russia confident in arms industry despite ‘hostile’ US sanctions

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Russia said Tuesday it was confident for the future of its arms industry even though the country faces what a senior official described as “unfair competition” and sanctions from the United States.

Moscow in recent years has worked to expand military partnerships abroad, a trend that has spurred criticism and concerns from Western capitals.

“We are doing everything we can to maintain our position and strengthen it (...) despite restrictions linked to the pandemic and blatant unfair competition which we constantly encounter,” said Dmitry Shugaev, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.

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“Our competitors – and first and foremost the United States – are trying to squeeze us out of our traditional markets,” Shugaev said a press conference in Moscow Tuesday.

He said however that Russia had developed ways of bypassing “hostile” US restrictions, including by conducting contracts in currencies other than the US dollar.

Moscow has accused Washington of unfair competition within the arms market citing sanctions on Russian suppliers and American pressure on countries aiming to acquire Russian arms.

Washington last year punished Turkey for buying Russia’s S-400 air defence system, imposing rare sanctions against a NATO ally.

But Shugaev said Tuesday that US sanctions “ultimately have zero effect.”

The global economic crisis spurred by the pandemic did not affect foreign orders of Russian arms in 2020, according to industry figures, with sales amounting to around $50-55 billion.

Shugaev said that a new arsenal of weapons being developed by Russia and touted by President Vladimir Putin as “invincible” were exclusively for Russia’s defence sector.

“These are sensitive weapons not intended for export,” he said.

Shugaev said however that the country intended to devote resources to the development of drones, which he described as a weapon “of the future.”

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