Moscow, Dec 22 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian military will not abandon the legendary Kalashnikov assault rifles, the defence minister has said.
Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff, had said the defence ministry has stopped procuring AK-47 rifles because of oversupply, indicating that new models of small arms and light weapons would replace it.
But Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov dismissed those suggestions Wednesday as absurd.
'For some reason everyone decided that if the defence ministry has not signed large-scale contracts for the procurement of Kalashnikov rifles they will be taken out of service. That is stupidity of course,' Serdyukov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta to be published Thursday.
'We have large amounts of automatic rifles and it makes no sense to purchase more,' he said.
'There are one million servicemen in the Russian Armed Forces and enough Kalashnikovs to supply several such armies with weapons. First we need to deal with what we have.'
The AK-47 is the most widely used and well-known assault rifle in the world. It is used by some 50 armies around the world, as well as countless guerrilla movements. It is also featured on the flag of Mozambique.