Russia's Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, says Russia and Zambia have signed an agreement for the sale of one VIP-configured SSJ 100/95 and are currently in talks over the acquisition of four more.

According to TASS, Manturov made the remarks on the sidelines of the Hydroaviation Salon 2018 expo, which is being held in Gelendzhik.

"A contract was signed with Zambia for the supply of one VIP-version aircraft," he said. "In the near future, an advance payment is expected, and an option to buy four Superjet 100 passenger aircraft is being discussed."

The aircraft will presumably replace the current presidential jet, a 17-year-old Bombardier CL604 Challenger, 9J-ONE (msn 5486).

On the purchase's original announcement in July last year, the president of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), Yury Slyusar, said the SuperJets could begin delivering from 2018 onwards.

In August, Zambia's Minister of Transport and Communications, Brian Mushimba, denied any links between the SuperJets and Zambia Airways (Lusaka) calling all related reports "conspiracy theories".