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US Senate passes ban on top Russian arms exporter

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The Senate side of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The US Senate has unanimously approved a motion to bar the Pentagon from purchasing any kind of military items from Russia’s major arms exporter Rosoboronexport over the firm’s weapons sales to Syria.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act authored by Republican Senator John Cornyn needs to be approved by the Congress.

The amendment, however, clearly stipulates that the ban can be overturned if “the Secretary of Defense determines that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States with respect to the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces.”

Senate’s Thursday ban against Rosoboronexport, which manages almost all of Russia’s weapons sales, has drawn criticism from the Kremlin.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned on Saturday that the ban might affect an existing multi-million-dollar agreement between the Pentagon and Rosoboronexport.

Based on the USD 367-million deal signed in May 2011, the US has purchased 21 Mi-17s helicopters from Rosoboronexport for the Afghan security forces.

Russia “does not wish to see this collaboration damaged as a result of ill-conceived decisions and a bad state of mind of US Senators,” he added.

“Russia is against policies which propose sanctions or quasi-sanctions regardless of the motives behind it,” Ryabkov pointed out.

Rosoboronexport has reportedly sold over a billion dollars in weapons to Syria, including four cargo ships full of arms and three dozen combat jets since March 2011, the senators said.

Russia contends that its arms sales to Syria are carried out strictly based on the existing agreements, in accordance with the international laws and solely to meet Syria’s defense purposes.


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  • Zharkov

    This ban is another waste of time and money by the US Congress.
    The Pentagon would not normally buy Russian military products even without a ban because of the old Cold War bias against the former USSR. And if there is some advantage to be gained, the ban won’t stop the SecDef from making a finding that it is in the national interest to buy Russian stuff.

    With the ongoing collapse of the empire, Congress might find more important problems to fix rather than issue silly, meaningless bans while the federal government is going bankrupt.

    America has some serious problems but Russia is not one of them. There is no Senate ban against the Pentagon buying arms from North Korea or Syria or even Iran. Why bother Russia with a stupid ban?

    If Congress wants to ban something, it should ban TSA assaults at our airports, ban non-judicial searches and seizures of private property, ban government spying on innocent Americans, ban federal arms shipments to Mexican drug cartels, maybe even prosecute government officials responsible for fake intelligence reports leading to invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, and bombing Libya.

    There is nothing “normal” about the current US government. It is hopelessly insane. Evidence of this is everywhere. The US is at the same moment both fighting Al Qaida in Afghanistan and funding Al Qaida in Libya, Egypt and Syria; and doing nothing while watching a US ambassador be murdered by US-supported rebels. The Obama administration belongs in a psychiatric ward for the criminally insane.

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