Arms Sales by Russia ‘Increased Dramatically’ in 2019, Putin Says

Western economic sanctions have failed to slow down Russia’s foreign arms sales, which actually “increased dramatically” in 2019, President Vladimir Putin said Monday, according to Xinhua.

Speaking at a meeting of the country’s Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation with Foreign Countries, Putin said that Russian arms sales increased to $13 billion this year, compared to about $11 billion last year.

Russian arms companies now have orders from foreign nations totaling about $50 billion, the Russian leader said, suggesting that economic sanctions from the U.S. and other world powers haven’t succeeded in clamping down on Russia’s weapons sector.

“Despite sanctions and unfair competition, Russia’s position in the global arms market is getting stronger,” Putin said.

The most high-profile of Russian weapons sales this year was Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile defense system. The massive deal has driven a wedge between Washington and Ankara, with the Pentagon ending Turkey’s participation in the U.S. F-35 program as punishment.

U.S. officials say the F-35 and the S-400 are incompatible systems, and there are fears that Russia could gain access to American military secrets if the two systems are used together.

Putin also hailed “the major contribution” of specialized fairs to promote Russia’s defense exports. These include the Army-2019 forum, the International Maritime Defense Show in St. Petersburg, and MAKS-2019 air show.

The events allowed foreign customers to see the newest Russian hardware in action, including the fifth-generation Su-57 fighter, the heavy-duty Mi-38T transport helicopter, the fourth-generation Viking mid-range anti-aircraft missile system, the Tiger armored car, and many others.

Russia accounts for roughly 10% of the entire global arms market. The combined arms sales of Russian companies in 2018 stood at $36.2 billion, a slight drop of 0.4 per cent on 2017, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).