In 2014, Russia urgently sent several Su-25 aircraft upon the request of Iraqi government when the country’s military was losing ground during the IS offensive. The Iraqi military also uses Russia-produced TOS-1A Buratino heavy flamethrowers, Grad truck-mounted 122mm multiple rocket launchers, 152mm MSTA howitzers, Su-25 attack planes and armored vehicles.
A joint Baghdad-based Russia-Iraq-Iran-Syria operational center was established in 2015 to exchange intelligence and coordinate activities against terrorists. Iraq has allowed the Russian Air Space Forces to use its airspace for airstrikes against Islamists in Syria.
Moscow and Baghdad are in talks on opening of a direct air line between Baghdad and Moscow and the abolition of visas for diplomats.
The United States will deliver lethal weapons to Ukraine. There is no question whether the arms will be sent but rather which exactly weapon systems are to be included into the package. The Joint Staff is working with US European Command to determine what lethal defensive aid to Ukraine might look like, said Air Force Gen. Paul Selva on July 18 during a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing considering his nomination by President Donald Trump to serve another two years as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
«It will be more than just a military recommendation», the General said. «This will be a policy choice on whether or not we are going to give the Ukrainian government the tools they need to defend themselves against what we believe to be a Russian-supported insurgency movement in the Donbass».
Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, the US top European commander, is another staunch supporter of the plans to deliver lethal arms to Ukraine.
There are growing bipartisan calls to arm Ukraine on Capitol Hill. The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) cuts the military aid to Ukraine from the initial $300 million to $150 million, but it provides permission for lethal arms supplies. The idea is strongly supported in the Senate. If the legislation goes through, the weapons could be legally sent to Ukraine starting October 1. The money could be used to deliver over 900 FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles designed to strike armored vehicles, fortified ground installations and low flying aerial targets at a distance of 50-2,500 meters.
European politicians, including German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, have opposed the idea. Some NATO and EU members have expressed skepticism about extending economic sanctions against Russia – let alone sending weapons to Ukraine. NATO Military Committee Chairman Peter Pavel has spoken against lethal arms deliveries to Kiev.