The Telegraph reports:
Russia's ambitions to become the world's pre-eminent arms exporter have suffered a setback after Algeria told the Kremlin it wanted to send back 15 fighter jets because they were sub-standard. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the president of Algeria, met Vladimir Putin in Moscow yesterday to discuss the dispute, which has taken the gloss off a $3.7 billion (£1.9 billion) deal signed in 2006. Algerian military chiefs have allegedly complained that the aircraft, the first of a consignment of 36 MiG29 jets, were second-hand rather than new and proved faulty during initial testing. Moscow denied the allegations. Russia's state-owned defence industries have denied that the agreement was close to collapse, but there have been private concessions that more sophisticated aircraft will have to be offered as part of a face-saving deal.
Mr Putin has personally backed plans to re-energise arms sales in an effort to demonstrate Russia's growing international influence. By expanding into markets that the West has ignored, Russia's arms exports are growing by 25 per cent a year. After lucrative deals with Syria, Iran, Burma and Sudan, Russia is the world's second biggest arms dealer after America. But as exports have grown, so too has criticism of its reputation as a quality arms merchant, with some saying that Moscow was overly dependent on an ageing stockpile of Soviet military "left-overs".