ABU DHABI — The Kalashnikov Group is aggressively targeting the Middle East based on its new business acquisitions announced Sunday on the opening day of the IDEX show.

Kalashnikov Group Chief Executive Aleksey Krivoruchko told Defense News that Arab countries will be a major customer for their new products developed by newly acquired unmanned aerial systems manufacturer ZALA Aero, and high-tech landing craft and search-and-rescue boat manufacturer Euroyachting Rybinskaya Shipyard Group.

"We are planning to make these weapons available for the export market," he said. "That's why we chose IDEX as the platform for their launch.

"We are very interested in selling them to Arabic countries, the Middle East is a major market for us and we have found a lot of interest in it and we hope that it will be popular in this part of the world," Krivoruchko added.

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Krivoruchko said that Kalashnikov has not been adversely affected by In light of the imposed sanctions on Russia. The company announced earlier this month that it has registered a 3 billion ruble (US $45 million) profit in 2014, up 28 percent from 2013 after doubling its production last year.

"The sanctions has not caused any restrictions on us in exhibiting our products globally except in Europe, we exhibit in the USA and are participating at the SHOT Show [Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas], but not in Europe," he said

He added that the conflict in Ukraine itself does not affect the assault weapons maker as the company does not supply any products to "either of the sides involved in the conflict."

"There are no effects also because the Russian Ministry of Defense has not been buying a lot of our products for a long time and there is no increase in that direction, that conflict has absolutely no effect on our company," he said.

Email: amustafa@defensenews.com

Awad Mustafa was a Middle East and Africa correspondent for Defense News.

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