MOSCOW: Bolivia may order weaponry worth several million dollars from Russia in the near future, a deputy foreign minister said on Friday.
Sources earlier reported that Bolivia had expressed interest in buying a number of Russian-made Mi-17 multipurpose helicopters to combat terrorism and drug trafficking.
“As to purchases of military equipment, we are interested not only in helicopters, but also in other kinds of weaponry,” Hugo Fernandez told a news conference at RIA Novosti.
“Agreements on the list of military equipment which we would like to purchase have not yet been reached, but we will return to this issue in several months. We are talking about several million dollars worth of weaponry,” he added.
During the talks in Moscow in February, Russia and Bolivia signed a bilateral agreement on military-technical cooperation.
Moscow said it could offer La Paz a loan for the purchase of Russian-made weaponry, without specifying the amount.
However, Alexander Fomin, first deputy director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military Cooperation, said on Thursday that the Russian defense industry had effectively “reached its ceiling” and could not take on any more contracts in the near future.
“The industry does not stretch like a rubber bag. As in other countries, [our industry] has its limits. That’s an open secret,” he said.
According to Fomin, Russia’s foreign defense orders currently total $35 billion.