Vietnam orders Russian submarines, fighter jets


HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam has ordered submarines and fighter jets from Russia, its former communist ally, the government announced Wednesday, in a deal reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The agreement was made Tuesday during a visit to Moscow by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnam’s government said on its official Web site.

Vietnam also invited Russia to help build its first nuclear power plant, the Web site said, providing no further details. Vietnam hopes to begin construction of the plant in 2014 and put it on line by 2020.

Vietnamese officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed Defense Ministry official as saying Russia will sell Vietnam six diesel-electric “Project 636” Varshavyanka submarines for a total of $2 billion. The submarines are also known by their NATO nickname, “Kilos.”

Interfax also quoted an unidentified Russian official as saying that Vietnam would purchase 12 more Sukhoi Su-30MK2 fighter jets for $600 million, in addition to eight others it has already ordered.

Russian Defense Ministry officials could not be reached Wednesday for comment on the report.

Several Vietnamese lawmakers have recently called for the modernization of Vietnam’s modest navy. The deal comes amid rising tensions between Vietnam and China over the Spratly and Paracel islands in the South China Sea.

Both Vietnam and China claim the island chains. Several other Asian countries also claim part or all of the Spratlys.

In October, Vietnam demanded China investigate alleged beatings and robbery by armed Chinese personnel of Vietnamese fishermen who sought shelter on the Paracels during a typhoon.