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Grizzly Bear in The Americas: Argentina announced plans to buy two Mi-171E transport helicopters from Russia, never happened before.

Mi-171E transport helicopters

Signaling a shift in strategy, Argentina announced plans to buy two Mi-171E transport helicopters from Russia, the first defense deal between the two countries.

The landmark $30 million deal was pulled together by Argentina’s Defense Ministry and Russia’s Rosoboronexport government arms export agency. The ceremonious signing highlighted a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Argentina — the first by a Russian leader since Moscow established diplomatic relations with Buenos Aires 125 years ago.

It is the Russian leader’s second trip to Latin America since he became president in 2008. In November that year, he made a four-nation trip to Brazil, Cuba, Peru and Venezuela.

With the deal, Argentina joins seven other Latin American countries — Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela — that have increasingly turned to Russia for weapons.

The deal also comes amid designs by Russia and Argentina to bolster relations in nuclear power development and share use of the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System.

Argentina has two nuclear power plants in service. A third is under construction, while Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has said a fourth was under consideration but there was no indication of the project’s estimated cost.

Argentina generates about 20 percent of its electricity by using Russian-made equipment, Russian Economy Ministry says. READ MORE HERE.