By Ali Jawad
BAGHDAD (AA) - Iraq has received a first batch of Russian-made T-90 battle tanks as part of a purchase agreement signed last year, according to an Iraqi Defense Ministry source.
“The first batch of Russian tanks arrived yesterday [Thursday] at the Umm Qasr Port [in southern Iraq],” the source told Anadolu Agency on Friday.
“They have since been transported to Baghdad via the city of Basra,” the source, speaking anonymously as he was not authorized to speak to the media, added.
He did not provide the exact number of tanks delivered on Thursday.
The delivery comes as part of a purchase agreement signed last year between Iraq and Russia for a total of 73 T-90s.
“The rest of the tanks will be delivered gradually,” the Defense Ministry source said, going on to point out that the first batch of tanks would enter into service “in coming days”.
Dozens of Iraqi military vehicles -- including several combat tanks -- were destroyed during the country’s three-year fight against Daesh, which overran much of northern and western Iraq in mid-2014.
The Iraqi military’s sizeable arsenal includes both Russian- and U.S.-made tanks and armored personnel carriers, along with U.S., Soviet-era and Korean jet fighters.