Russia eyes military sales to Thailand, rubber deals

Thailand's PM Prayuth speaks with Russia's PM Medvedev during a news conference at the Government House in BangkokBy Simon Webb BANGKOK (Reuters) – Russia sees an opportunity to sell Thailand military planes and other defense equipment, Russia’s trade minister said on Wednesday, as the two countries facing Western opprobrium seek to boost trade ties. Thailand has stepped up engagement with both Russia and China in response to cooler relations with old ally the United States and other Western countries since the Thai military seized power from an elected government last May. The U.S. scaled back military cooperation with Thailand after the coup. “We are feeling out the interest on the Thai side to purchase military equipment,” Russian Trade Minister Denis Manturov told Reuters in Bangkok on Wednesday. “Our friends from the Western part of the world are ignoring Thailand.” Manturov is part of a delegation accompanying Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on an official visit. USA, LLC