Begich Criticizes Pentagon Purchase of Russian Helicopters for Afghanistan
No Taxpayer Money for a Russian State-Owned Corporation
Voicing his strong concerns about a purchase of equipment for the Afghan National Army from a company that is also supplying arms to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, U.S. Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) sent a letter the White House this week requesting that the Pentagon sever all ties with Rosoboronexport, a Russian state-owned corporation.
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, recently passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, includes a provision limiting U.S. ability to contract with Rosoboronexport. However Sens. Begich and Ayotte are calling for immediate action since the bill has not yet become law.
“American taxpayer dollars should not be provided to a Russian state-owned corporation that is complicit in the murder of thousands of innocent Syrian men, women, and children,” said Sen. Begich in the letter to President Obama.
Rosoboronexport has supplied the Assad regime with guns, grenades, tank parts, attack aircraft, anti-ship cruise missiles, and air defense missiles and is now planning to sell advanced anti-aircraft 300 weapons systems. Sens. Begich and Ayotte noted that when transferred, these weapons will challenge American interests in the region, including the safety of Israel.
Sens. Begich and Ayotte request that the Pentagon cancel all orders with Rosoboronexport and that the U.S. impose sanctions on any company that provides weapons to the Assad regime..