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Russian Aircraft Firms to Replace Ukrainian Imports in 2 Years

A plane being put together at a factory of the United Aircraft Corporation, which is using more domestic parts.

Russia's United Aircraft Corporation, a state-owned conglomerate of Russian aircraft production firms, says that it will be able to replace imported Ukrainian aircraft components with Russian equivalents within the next two years, a company official told ITAR-Tass on Tuesday.

None of the company's existing contracts will be cancelled, said Vladimir Mikhailov, UAC's head of military programs, adding that UAC is already actively pursuing plans to substitute imports with domestic equipment.

The Russian aircraft industry is deeply reliant on imports from Ukrainian defense firms, as is the wider Russian defense industry. For instance, the engines for several Russian military and civilian helicopters are produced in formerly Soviet factories in eastern Ukraine, an area now ravaged by months of fighting between pro-Russia insurgents and the Ukrainian army.

Last month, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko slapped a moratorium on military-industrial cooperation with Russia, plunging Moscow into an impending supply crisis as it implements a massive $700 billion military modernization and rearmament drive through 2020.

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin urged defense industry officials to double time their efforts to shore up gaps in Russia's military production lines to ensure that the country can weather the storm of anticipated U.S. and European Union sanctions on the defense industry.

The EU is expected to announce its next round of sanctions as early as Tuesday, with reported targets to include the financial, energy and defense sectors. The U.S. has already struck eight major Russian defense companies with asset freezes and bans on transactions with U.S. companies and individuals.

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