NEW DELHI, March 29 (Itar-Tass) — Russia will fully meet its obligations to supply Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan in accordance with terms of a Russian-American contract, despite appeals of some US senators to break up relations with Russia’s Rosoboronexport arms exporting company, the head of the Russian delegation to the Defexpo 2012 international exhibition told Tass on Thursday.
“Despite appeals by a group of American senators to break up relations with Rosoboronexport because the company carries out military-technical cooperation with Syria, and stop supplies to Afghanistan of Russian helicopters ordered by US ground troops, the Russian side continues implementing the terms of the signed contract,” said Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.
“US ground forces are interested in supplies of Russian helicopters to Afghanistan as in case of contract termination, this would seriously undermine their efforts aimed at having Afghans themselves ensure their own security,” the specialist noted.
“We hope that the contract will be fully implemented, and the Russian side makes every effort for that,” Dzirkaln stressed.
Russia has sent to Afghanistan the first nine Mi-17B5 helicopters. At the present moment these helicopters are handed over to the Afghan national security forces, and Russian specialists are in Afghanistan because of that. The production of the remaining 12 helicopters continues at the Kazan helicopter plant, and the helicopters will be supplied this year.
A group of US senators has sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in which they offer to break up all business relations with Rosoboronexport in connection with supplies of Russian arms to Syria. With that in view they offer the Pentagon chief to put pressure on Russia and Russian organizations so that they stop supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.