Russia's Ambassador to Buenos Aires Dmitri Feoktiskov met with Defense Minister Jorge Taiana to convey yet again his country's interest in selling military equipment to the South American country, it was reported Friday.
The meeting took place this week shortly after it was known that the 2022 Budget included US $ 644 million for the purchase of units for the Air Force and the chosen model was expressly mentioned: the Chinese-made JF-17 Thunder Block III.
During the meeting, Taiana and Feoktiskov also discussed bilateral cooperation in defence issues, including a possible agreement to train Argentine military personnel in Russia.
The diplomat recapped on the roadmap laid out by former Defense Minister Agustín Rossi, which included cooperation agreements for the training of military personnel, specific courses for submariners, airmen and the provision of tanks, all at the expense and cost of the Russian Federation.
Feoktiskov stressed that the Russian offer to equip the Argentine Air Force with an air superiority fighter has better financing conditions than the Chinese alternative.
Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport introduced the MiG-35 fighter and the Yak-130 light trainer a few months ago. The MiG-35 has an in-flight refuelling probe and is marketed in a single and two-seater version, at a price of around US $ 30 million each.
Taiana spoke the same day online with Chinese ambassador Zou Xiaoli, who congratulated him on his appointment as minister and recalled the offer of the Chinese fighter and the academic and personnel exchange programs between the two countries.
Argentina is working on a substitute for its Mirage fleet, which was phased out years ago. Bids from the United States offering F-16 Fighting Falcon or F-18 Hornets are also expected, but these may not survive a British veto, the Buenos Aires daily Ambito noted, which would not apply to Russian or Chinese weapons.
The final decision also hinges on the country's economic situation as well as its debt to the International Monetary Fund.
The recent appointment of the belligerent Guillermo Carmona as the new Malvinas Secretary is also not to be overlooked.