Russia, Iraq Consider Boosting Military Ties
Iraq's Defense Ministry stated on Thursday that Baghdad and Moscow are studying prospects to deepen military coordination.
The statement followed a meeting in Baghdad between Iraqi army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Othman Al-Ghanimi and Iraq's Russian Ambassador Maksim Maksimov, as well as a newly arrived defense attache.
Al-Ghanimi praised Russia's role in the combarting ISIS, saying they had provided Iraq's armed forces with advanced and effective equipment and weapons "that had a major role in resolving many battles."
The two sides also reviewed prospects for “cooperation and coordination,” as they emphasized the importance of exchanging information and coordination to prevent the resurgence of ISIS, according to the statement.
For his part, Maksimov invited al-Ghanimi to visit Russia and meet with his counterpart “within the framework of strengthening cooperation between the two sides,” the statement added.
The meeting came amid a strain in Baghdad-Washington relations after a US airstrike killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani Inside Iraq.
A senior Iraqi military intelligence official told The Associated Press that Russia, among other countries, has come forward to offer military support in the wake of fraught US-Iraq relations following Soleimani's killing.
“Iraq still needs aerial reconnaissance planes. There are countries that have given signals to Iraq to support us or equip us with reconnaissance planes such as Russia and Iran," said the official.