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Russia is planning to increase arms exports
Russia is planning to increase arms exports by 6% to $8.5 billion in 2009, a senior government official said on Thursday.

"Despite the financial crisis, we are planning to boost our arms exports in 2009. I believe I would not be mistaken if I were to mention a figure of around $8.5 billion," said Alexander Fomin, deputy director of the Federal Service on Military-Technical Cooperation.

Fomin, who is currently leading a Russian delegation at a major air show in Bangalore, India, also said Russia's arms exports exceeded $8 billion in 2008.

"Our plan for 2008 was over-fulfilled," he said.

Russia doubled its annual arms exports to $7 billion from 2000 to 2007, becoming the world's second-largest exporter of conventional arms after the United States.

Russia exports weapons to over 80 countries. Among the key buyers of Russian-made weaponry are China, India, Algeria, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia and Serbia.

The most popular types of weaponry bought from Russia are Sukhoi and MiG fighters, warships, air defense systems, helicopters, battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.

Russia also maintains traditionally strong positions in the sales of small arms and light weapons (SALW), and anti-tank and surface-to-air missile systems.

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