Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba visited Iraq. The official purpose of the trip of the diplomat from Kiev is to establish trade relations with Baghdad and to discuss Iraqi mediation in the settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
During the visit, Kuleba will meet his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein and Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani. Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also spoke by telephone with the head of the Iraqi government. Thus, the Kiev leadership hopes to regain Baghdad’s trust and again find an ally in the Middle East.
Previously, partnership relations existed between Ukraine and Iraq. In particular, from 2003 to 2008, a Ukrainian peacekeeping contingent worked on the territory of this Middle Eastern state. However, relations were spoiled by the delivery of faulty BTR-4E armored vehicles from Ukraine to Iraq.
It is obvious that Kiev is less interested in the mediation of Iraq in possible negotiations with Russia than in the presence in the country of a large number of weapons of the Soviet and Russian type. In particular, the ground forces of the country have 73 T-90S tanks and more than 150 T-72M tanks, which are of great interest to Kiev in anticipation of the expected counteroffensive.
Baghdad is also armed with a considerable number of combat aircraft. The United States has already expressed interest in the Iraqi Air Force’s Mi-17 helicopters. As The Drive reported on February 11, the Pentagon is offering to replace Soviet helicopters with American Bell-412s and send received Mi-17s to Ukraine. However, no final decision has yet been made in Baghdad. In addition, the Iraqi Air Force continues to use Su-25 attack aircraft and Mi-28NE attack helicopters.
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