WASHINGTON, May 07. /ITAR-TASS/. The Pentagon now sees no alternative to the use of Russian Mi-17 helicopters in Afghanistan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey told Senate on Tuesday.
The US now had no alternative, though it continued to search for one, he said.
According to Dempsey, possible sanctions against the Russian company Rosoboronexport that supplies the helicopters would temporarily leave the Afghan army without its aviation component, which arises concern.
The Pentagon had earlier confirmed that the sanctions against Russia had not affected the contract for Mi-17 purchases for the Afghan military forces, which were in the urgent need of the helicopters. The military men got used to the helicopters since they meet their security needs, so that the US continued support via the contract with Rosoboronexport, said the Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby.
A proposal for sanctions against a number of Russian companies, among them the Mi-17 supplier, in connection with the current events in Ukraine was presented in Senate last week. Earlier, several senators had requested the Secretary of Defense to freeze cooperation with Rosoboronexport.
Last year Rosoboronexport and the US Government concluded another major contract for supply of additional 30 helicopters in 2014. Late in February, a Russian military industrial official said Russia had already supplied six machines of this amount. The rest is to be delivered during the year in several consignments, six helicopters each.