Italy helps Albania's army replace Kalashnikovs

TIRANA, Albania (AP) " Albania's defense minister says the country's army has replaced its old Kalashnikov automatic rifles with NATO-standard weaponry.

Speaking at a parliamentary commission Monday, Mimi Kodheli said Italy is donating 5,000 new automatic rifles to help complete the replacement of the Kalashnikovs.

She also said that the United States is donating 250 armored vehicles needed for "strategic transport," adding that the first vehicles will come in January.

Albania joined NATO in 2009, and since then has been replacing outdated weaponry with the new ones in line with the alliance's standards. Most of its antique Eastern Bloc-era transport vehicles, tanks and armored personal carriers, as well as infantry AK-47 assault rifles, known as Kalashnikovs, and ammunition was sold for scrap.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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