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Iraq to receive ‘large batch’ of advanced Russian T-90 battle tanks

A senior Kremlin official says the Iraqi military is going to receive “a large batch” of advanced Russian-made T-90 battle tanks later this year under a major deal struck between Moscow and Baghdad.

The Russian presidential aide for military-technical cooperation, Vladimir Kozhin, told Izvestia daily broadsheet newspaper that “a significant contract for a large batch” of T-90 tanks has been signed between the Iraqi government and Russian manufacturer Uralvagonzavod.

Kozhin did not disclose any information about the price of the deal, but said “the number [of tanks] is substantial.”

Earlier, Uralvagonzavod announced that it is going to deliver 73 T-90S and T-90SK tanks to the Iraqi military this year.

The T-90 is a third-generation Russian battle tank built upon the time-proven Soviet T-72 design.

It is among the best-selling tanks in the world, and known for its firepower, enhanced protection and mobility.

The T-90 features a smoothbore 2A46M 125mm main gun, which can fire both armor-piercing shells and anti-tank missiles.

The advanced tank also features sophisticated armor, ensuring all-round protection of the crew and critical systems, including explosive reactive armor and active infrared jammers to defend it from inbound rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and other projectiles.

Indian, Algerian and Azerbaijani militaries have purchased hundreds of T-90 battle tanks in past years. Kuwait, Vietnam and Egypt have also expressed strong interest in buying the tank.

The Iraqi military plans to reinforce its fleet of M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks with T-90s. A large number of American M1A1 Abrams tanks have been damaged in the fight against Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) announced in a statement that army soldiers, backed by pro-government fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, killed more than 30,000 Daesh terrorists as they fought the extremists in a major military campaign to liberate the country’s second largest city of Mosul.

The statement added that Iraqi government forces also recovered the bodies of 1,429 civilians, saved the lives of 102 citizens trapped in embattled Mosul neighborhoods and evacuated 200 families from conflict zones to safe areas.

On July 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.

In the run-up to Mosul’s liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, had made sweeping gains against Daesh since launching the operation on October 17, 2016.