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Russia Still In Talks With Syria On MiG Sale

A MiG-31 aircraft being assembled in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

A MiG-31 aircraft being assembled in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has confirmed that it is still in talks with Syria to supply a modernized MiG-31E interceptor aircraft to Damascus, after Syria dismissed a report in May that it was scrapped after protest from Israel.

Alexei Fyodorov, head of the state-run United Aviation Corp (UAC), told “Kommersant” business daily in an interview that it was unclear when the actual delivery would take place.

"Consultations are under way on this contract, so its fate is not quite clear to us," he said. "The talks continue, and I believe it will be implemented in the end."

The MiG-31, codenamed "Foxhound" by NATO, is a supersonic, high-altitude fighter. Soviet-designed, it has been in service since the 1980s and remains a workhorse of Russian air forces.

Syria has said it expects to buy eight aircraft of this type worth between $400 million and $500 million.

Fyodorov did not elaborate on the obstacles the contract could have encountered.

Syria, which had adhered to a ceasefire with Israel on the Golan Heights since 1974, has been trying to upgrade its military in the last several years.