The assertion that Astana and Paris had opened discussions regarding the acquisition Rafale fighters for the Kazakhstan air forces was denied in a brief published by the Tass Agency. However, if the initial information called for caution, the denial, relayed by the Russian press agency, does just as much.
A few days ago, information, initially published by the intelligence online site, reported that France had opened discussions with the former republics of Central Asia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, regarding the possible acquisition of fighters Rafale to modernize their respective fighter fleets.
Surprising at first, this was subsequently confirmed by the very serious and well-informed Michel Cabirol of the economic site latribune.fr, adding that the subject had been directly raised by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, on the occasion of his official tour of Central Asia at the beginning of November .
The astonishing denial published by the Tass agency
This information was denied today, concerning Kazakhstan. Not Astana or by the services of President Tokaiev, but by the Russian agency TASS , citing Yerzhan Nildibayev, the commander-in-chief of Kazakh air defense, and also head of the country's arms acquisition department.
According to the Russian agency, the Kazakh official denied that discussions were being undertaken between his country and France for the acquisition of Rafale fighters, considered too expensive. He further specified that Astana remained aligned with its intention to acquire around ten Su-30SM fighters from Russia, precisely to modernize its air forces.
It is true that the Russian heavy fighter is much less expensive than the French Rafale , with an average export price ranging from $40 to $50 million, half as much as the French fighter. However, if the initial information could raise certain questions, the denial, published by the Tass agency, raises even more.
Thus, according to the tribune, everything indicated that discussions around this possibility took place at the highest political level of the State. While to refute it, the Russian press agency was only able to cite an operational person who, although managing Kazakh acquisitions, could very well have been excluded at this level from the discussions.
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