Support The Moscow Times!

U.S. Congress Wants Answers Over Russian Afghan Contract

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is demanding answers from the Pentagon over a contract to buy helicopters for the Afghan security forces from a state-run Russian arms exporter that is a top weapons supplier to the Syrian government.

More than 80 House members signed a letter sent Thursday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel voicing their opposition to the deal.

They say the $554 million arrangement for 30 Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters from Rosoboronexport announced last month ignores a congressional prohibition against signing contracts with the arms agency.

The Pentagon has said the Afghans have an urgent need for the Mi-17s and it is in the public interest to buy them from Rosoboronexport.

The lawmakers say it is "unconscionable" U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing a company providing weapons to the Syrian regime.

Read more

We need your help now more than ever.

Independent media outlets and journalists in Russia are being increasingly targeted with “foreign agent” and “undesirable” labels, threatening the existence of the free press day by day.

Your donation to The Moscow Times directly supports the last independent English-language news source within Russia.