Ignoring Ukraine setbacks, Putin boasts of Russian weapons prowess

By Mark Trevelyan
LONDON (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Monday Moscow is ready to sell advanced weapons to allies worldwide and cooperate on the development of military technology, almost six months after the start of the Ukraine war in which its army performed worse than expected.
With the Russian leader's forces repelled from Ukraine's two largest cities and making slow and costly advances in the east of the country, the war has so far failed to prove a convincing showcase for Russia's defense industry.
But the Kremlin leader, speaking at an arms show outside Moscow, insisted Russian arms are years ahead of the competition.
Russia values ​​its strong ties with Latin America, Asia and Africa "and is ready to offer partners and allies the most modern types of weapons - from small arms to armored vehicles and artillery to fighter jets and unmanned aerial vehicles," he said.
"Almost all have been used more than once in real combat operations."
He said Russia could offer new models and systems – “we are talking about high-precision weapons and robotics, about combat systems based on new physical principles.
"Many of them are years or maybe decades ahead of their foreign colleagues and clearly superior to them in tactical and technical characteristics."
Western military analysts have suggested that what they see as poor performance by Russian troops and weapons in Ukraine could make Moscow's arms exports less attractive to potential buyers like India, which have relied heavily on its technology in the past.
Ukraine has made effective use of US-supplied weapons, particularly its advanced HIMARS missile systems, and Russia has suffered a series of severe blows, including last week's devastation of an airbase on Russia's annexed Crimea peninsula.
Still, Putin said the armed forces of Russia and its proxies in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine were doing all their jobs.
"Step by step they are liberating the Donbass country," he said.
The speech was part of a pattern of statements since the Feb. 24 invasion in which Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addressed Russia's potential to work with allies like China, India, Iran and others to build a new international order no longer dependent on the United States dominates.
“I would like to emphasize that Russia represents the broadest comprehensive military-technical development cooperation. This is especially important today in the conditions of trust in the emerging multipolar world,” Putin said.
“We greatly appreciate that our country has many like-minded allies and partners on different continents. These are the states that are not subject to the so-called hegemon, whose leaders show real masculine character and do not bend.”
(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Andrew Osborn)
Wladimir Putin
President of Russia

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