Russia Reportedly Proposes Co-Manufacturing Kalashnikov Rifles in Greece
by Philip Chrysopoulos, Greek Reporter Russia has sent an official proposal to the Greek Defense Ministry to co-manufacture Kalashnikov rifles in Greece, according to an onalert.gr report. The verbal proposal was made during the recent visit of Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos in Moscow, where he discussed several defense issues with the Russian side. According to the report, Moscow expects a formal reply by August. Allegedly, the first time such proposal was made to Greece was in 2006, when Russia had suggested the establishment of weapons production factories in Greece for exports to third countries. According to the report, Russian officials requested to visit the Hellenic Defense Systems (EAS) facilities in Aigio, Peloponnese. They found that the manufacturing facilities are efficient and reiterated the proposal. An official letter to the General Directorate for Defense Investment and Armaments (GDDIA) followed, according to the report, containing a detailed plan for the co-manufacturing of Kalashnikov rifles at the EAS factory. However, there are some substantial hurdles that will make such a deal rather difficult, onalert.gr said. First and foremost is Greece’s alliance with NATO and the United States. It will be hard for allies to accept such an agreement. Secondly, co-manufacturing Kalashnikov might mean that the Greek army will have to replace the existing G3 rifles that are designed in Germany. This will not go very well with Greece’s European allies and creditors. Thirdly, the EAS staff have been drastically reduced since the onset of the economic crisis, while there are rumors that the manufacturing facilities will be shut down altogether. However, GDDIA officials said that even the existing staff are sufficient for the arms’ co-production. Russia has given Greece enough time to respond to the proposal. The Greek government has to make a decision until August. According to the report, what might be a determining factor is that Kalashnikov rifles were given to the Greek Navy Seals to test and their response was enthusiastic.