Russia delivered the first of five planned shipments of anti-aircraft weapons to Kurdish troops in northern Iraq. According to Russian experts, Moscow officially revealed this fact for the first time with the intention to change its Middle East policy and emphasize the importance of the Kurds in the region.
Originally appeared at ruskarec, translated by A. Đurić exclusively for SouthFront
In Iraq arrived first shipment of Russian weapons to Kurdish volunteer movement “Peshmerga”, who fight against the “Islamic state” terrorist organization in the region. Senior officials of the Russian Foreign Ministry handed over anti-aircraft weapons ZU-23-2 (23 mm caliber) to the forces of resistance.
„Shipment of weapons arrived on March 14. It is intended for Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan. At the handover of weapons was held with the presense of Ambassador and Consul General of Russia in Iraq, and Deputy Chief of Staff of “Peshmerga”, RIA Novosti quoted Artjomova Grigorjan, attaché of the Russian general consulate in the Iraqi city of Erbil.
According to him, the parties discuss the further delivery of the weapons. “After the handover of weapons Russian ambassador said that this is not the last delivery. He stressed that Russia hopes “Peshmerga” and the Iraqi armed forces will use this weapon to win against “Islamic state”, said the Russian attaché.
As he pointed out, the delivery of weapons to soldiers of Iraqi Kurdistan is in accordance with the official Baghdad.
The first time officially
“Russia has decided to change its Middle East policy and openly admits that. The intelligence services in Europe and the Middle East have long known of our cooperation with the Kurds. There’s nothing wicked in cooperation with the forces fighting against the “Islamic state”, said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor in chief of Russia in global politics.
As he stated, the move Russia made is making aware that there are a wide ties and interests in the Middle East. “Moscow also notes that today the Kurdish community becomes significant, noticeable and the active component of the Middle East process, which must be kept in mind”, said Lukyanov.
According to Vladimir Jevseyev, head of department for the study of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at the Institute for the Study of the CIS, Russia has decided to openly announce the start of deliveries of weapons to Iraqi Kurds after the visit of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to Baghdad. On that occasion, the parties discussed, inter alia on the delivery of weapons to “Peshmerga” to combat terrorists of the “Islamic state”.
“It has long been known of weapons delivery to Iraqi Kurds. They receive arms from Russia, USA, Germany and Iran. The parties have agreements on supplying arms, i.e. they stipulate what is given to Kurds to fight “Islamic state”, and what is not”, said Yevseyev.
He said that guns are transported with the knowledge and approval of the leadership of Iraq. It’s not just anti-aircraft weapons, but also grenade launchers. “We do not send to the Kurds portable rocket systems and heavy weapons, which require additional training. It is entirely possible that we will begin to deliver them light armored vehicles, but no more than that “, added the expert.
U-23-2 is Soviet anti-air gun that consists of twin-barrel automatic cannon 23 mm caliber.
Rate of fire: 2,000 rounds per minute;
Mass: 950 kg;
Projectile Weigh: 190 grams;
Range: 1.500 m in height, 2.500 m in the distance.
Crew: Five fighters.
In the arsenal of the USSR from March 22, 1960.