Putin hails Russian arms sales abroad

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, attends a meeting on arms exports in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. Putin said Russian arms sales abroad has risen over the past year. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says that arms sales abroad have continued to increase over the past year.

Speaking Monday at a meeting with top officials, Putin said that arms exports are expected to top $13 billion this year, which he said exceeds last year’s sales by more than $2 billion.

The Russian leader added that Moscow’s positions on the global arms market have continued to strengthen despite Western sanctions.

Russian arms shipments abroad this year included the delivery of the S-400 air defense missile systems to Turkey — a deal that vexed Washington.

Putin said Russian arms manufacturers now have foreign orders totaling $50 billion.

During the meeting, Putin urged Russian officials to pay special attention to arms sales to Africa and show a “flexible” approach to deliveries and payments. Russia hosted an Africa summit in October in a bid to expand its clout on the continent by touting military aid and economic projects.

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