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. China to buy 38 Russian planes in 1.5 billion-dollar deal: report
MOSCOW (AFP) Sep 08, 2005
China's military will sign a contract Thursday for the purchase of 38 Russian military transport aircraft in a deal valued at over 1.5 billion dollars (1.2 billion euros), the business daily Vedomosti reported, quoting sources close to the negotiations.

The contract for Ilyushin-76 transport and Ilyushin-78 tanker planes was to be signed in Russia's Black Sea coastal city of Sochi.

The two countries had already initialed agreements for China to buy Russian military planes.

Confirmation of the deal came a day after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and his Chinese counterpart, Cao Gangchuan, had met President Vladimir Putin in Sochi to discuss military cooperation.

Putin was quoted after the meeting by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying that "today the Russian-Chinese relationship has achieved the highest level in the history of the countries' cooperation".

Last month, Russia and China held their first large-scale joint military exercises, drills that were watched warily by the United States and Taiwan in particular. Both Moscow and Beijing said the exercises were not intended to send a message to any particular country.

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