Russia in talks to supply helicopters to NATO

President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai discussed helicopter sale with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, August 18, 2010.

From Richard Boudreaux, Wall Street Journal:  Russia is negotiating the sale of about 20 helicopters for Afghanistan, stepping up efforts to help the country’s U.S.-backed government battle the Taliban insurgency and drug traffickers.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Russia also had begun supplying firearms for the Afghan Interior Ministry and for police training. Until now, Russia’s support for U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan has been limited to offering transit for railway shipments of nonlethal supplies as well as air corridors for weapons supplies. …

Mr. Lavrov said Russia is awaiting a response to its proposed arrangement under which the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would pay for the helicopters. He said President Dmitry Medvedev and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, discussed the deal during a meeting the Russian leader convened Wednesday at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. …

NATO’s purchase of Russian-made military helicopters became easier in May, when the U.S. lifted sanctions it had imposed in 2006 against Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state arms dealer, for doing business with Iran.

The restrictions were ended as part of a U.S. effort to win Moscow’s support for broader sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program.  (photo:  AP)

Image: ap%208%2016%2010%20Dmitry%20Medvedev%20%20Hamid%20Karzai.jpg