Russia: February 8, 2002


Russian and India signed a military cooperation agreement. The deal basically expanded and extended arrangements that have been in place for decades. A three billion dollar arms deal is still in negotiation, being held up over details on the sale of Tu-22 heavy bombers and an aircraft carrier. In Chechnya, for the fifth time in two weeks, there was a helicopter mishap. The rebels say they are shooting them down, or sabotaging them. But in reality the choppers are falling apart. Russia has not been able to buy new helicopters for the last ten years, and spare parts for the existing ones are in short supply. Moreover, in Chechnya, it's faster and safer to move troops and supplies around by helicopter. So the machines are worked hard, and the maintenance crews are not numerous, or skilled enough, to keep the helicopters together.


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