Russia has committed to provide weapons to Iraq to aid the latter’s efforts to stop advancing Islamic State fighters. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is currently in President Vladimir Putin’s country for a two-day visit.
Deutsche Welle reports Mr Putin vowed to invest billions of dollars in Iraq. No figures were mentioned. “We are expanding cooperation in the area of military technology,” the Russian leader reportedly said.
Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, said among the subjects the two leaders discussed was military-technical cooperation and the situation in the Middle East. “It is a good opportunity to exchange views on the situation in the region. The situation is very turbulent, causing concern, and of course this will be discussed,” Peskov told reporters, according to a report by Sputnik International.
Meanwhile, Mr. Abadi said a number of “certain forces” advised him against pursuing his trip to Russia. “We arrived to Russia despite advice by certain forces to reject this invitation.” He said he went through with the trip because he wants to develop Russian-Iraqi ties “in all spheres, including defense and economic cooperation as well as joint efforts in the oil and gas industry.”
Russian companies, prior to the 2003 overthrowing of Saddam Hussein led by the United States, were active in the Iraqi economy for decades, Deutsche Welle says. It noted Russia in 2014 supplied Iraqi forces with Mi-28 attack helicopters to help them combat the rising threat of Islamic State militants.
Over the weekend, the Iraqi city of Ramadi fell in the hands of the Islamic State insurgents. In their haste to leave the area for survival, the Iraqi forces abandoned a slew of weapons which the radicals could use against them and the U.S.-led coalition.