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Putin Signs Deal with Malaysia to Provide Jet Fighters - 2003-08-05

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Malaysia to cement an arms deal with the Malaysian government and further trade ties with Kuala Lumpur.

President Putin signed a $900 million deal Tuesday to sell 18 Sukhoi SU-30 M.K. warplanes to Malaysia.

Malaysia will finance the purchase through sales of palm oil.

Mr. Putin is on a two-day visit to Malaysia aimed at bolstering trade ties and to boost the export of technological know-how to Malaysia. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says his country is keen to acquire Russian expertise.

Malaysia is seeking more sophisticated combat arms systems. It has a shopping list that includes submarines from France, missile systems from Britain and Russia, and tanks from Poland. The Malaysian Air Force already has a mixture of aircraft from Britain, the United States, and Russia.

Mr. Putin is the first Russian leader to visit Malaysia in 35 years. Mr. Mahathir visited Moscow in March of last year.