- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 24, 2014

Russian fighter jets and helicopter gunships are on their way to Iraq as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tries to reverse gains made by Sunni radicals with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Iraqi Defense Minister Sadun al-Dalaymi was in Moscow Thursday to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, who was announced that the two countries have agreed to export deals of military hardware, which include Mi-35 helicopter gunships and Su-25 warplanes, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty reported.

Shipments of the equipment have already started.

Part of the deal struck with Russia also includes the delivery of Mi-28 helicopter gunships, Pantsyr-S1E anti-aircraft missile systems, and Russian personnel who will train Iraqi security forces on how to use the weapons.

In addition to its deals with Russia, Iraq has sought additional help from the United States for the ongoing fight with ISIL. Members of the Senate and House foreign relations committees are in the process of reviewing a deal that would send 4,000 Hellfire missiles to Iraq. The U.S. has already sent 500 missiles to the war-torn nation.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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