Kazakhstan, a former republic of the Soviet Union, signed a contract with Russia for the delivery of several divisions of S-300PS missile systems. Kazakhstan’s Defense Minister Danial Akhmetov said that the country would continue purchasing the missile systems from Russia in the future.
Russia’s Defense Minister said earlier that Kazakhstan planned to purchase ten divisions of S-300 missile complexes from Russia in 2009 and was considering an opportunity to acquire divisions of S-400 systems. Kazakh defense minister said that it would help the country to strengthen its integration into the Collective Security Treaty Organization and defend the nation’s air space.
The commander of Russia’s air defense troops, Alexander Sorokin, said that Kazakhstan would be purchasing ten divisions of S-300 systems by installments before 2011. Kazakhstan is buying the systems to strengthen its southern borders.
The systems, which Kazakhstan is buying, will be delivered to the republic after their modernization.
It is worthy of note that Russia has recently signed an agreement with Belarus about the creation of the joint air defense system. It became the first step on the way to build the system in other regions, including Asia, where Kazakhstan is situated.
The cost of two divisions of S-300 missile systems is evaluated at $250-300 million. This is the price that Vietnam paid Russia when it purchased two divisions of S-300 complexes. If Kazakhstan plans to buy ten divisions, it means that the deal totals $1.5 billion, which is quite a hefty sum of money for such a country as Kazakhstan.
At the end of 2008, the US administration asked Russia to explain the news that appeared in the Iranian media outlets about the delivery of S-300 systems to Iran from Russia. An official spokesman for the US State Department said that the delivery of such weapons to Iran was inadmissible, because it would jeopardize the lives of US servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Officials of the Russian Defense Ministry refuted the information. Russian diplomats told their Iranian counterparts a month later that Russia did not have the intention to sell S-300 missile complexes to Iran. To crown it all, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated during his recent meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Russia was taking the concerns of the United States and Israel into its consideration during the shipments of its non-destabilizing arms to other countries.
The deal to sell ten divisions of S-300 missile systems to Kazakhstan looks rather strange. Kazakhstan has not been in the news lately as an object of possible aggression. Does it mean that Kazakhstan is purchasing the systems to resell them to someone else? The contract prohibits the resale of the weapons to third parties, natural persons or legal entities without the preliminary written consent from the supplier. Most likely, Kazakhstan helped Russia out of a tricky situation.