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Putin says Russia must boost arms exports: RIA news agency

Published on Jul 7, 2014 7:23 PM

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russia should boost its arms exports to help the industry upgrade and add more high-end jobs to the labour market, President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying on Monday.

Russia is the focus of military tensions with the West over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. It has also been a long-standing arms supplier to Syria and ally of President Bashar al-Assad, who opposition forces are seeking to oust. "It is important to... strengthen Russia's presence on global arms markets," RIA news agency quoted Putin as telling a meeting on military cooperation with foreign countries. "Beyond doubt, this should help national defence industries to plan for an expansion and update of production, (and) create new quality jobs."

Russia is already the world's top arms exporter and sold some US$15.7 billion (S$19.5 billion) worth of weapons abroad - primarily guns, missiles and fighter jets - in 2013.

Other leading buyers of Russian arms include India, China and Venezuela.

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