Russia Purchased Israeli Drones Despite Syria, Iran Objections

Russia bought drones after witnessing their succesful use against them in last Summer's war with Georgia.

Russia concluded its first weapons deal with Israel, purchasing unmanned spy planes valued at around $49 million, a spokesman for the Russia Defense Ministry in Moscow told daily Izvestiya on Monday.

According to a military export cited by the paper the purchase was in reaction to the August 2008 war in the south Caucasus - where Georgia successfully employed such drones against Russia.

Moscow made the deal despite objections from Israel's political adversaries Iran and Syria, which are also customers of Russia military hardware.

According to Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin, Russia was purchasing the drones for test purposes.

"We wanted to show our domestic weapons producers among others what needs our army had," Popovkin said, adding that Russia's weapon's industry had to "familiarize" itself with Israeli construction of the Israeli drone.

"In a war we would of course deploy our own products," the deputy minister said.

According to Russia media, the foreign purchase of military technology was the first by Russia since 1940. A number of Russian parliamentarians voted against the plan.