Lawmakers seek end to deal with Russian firm
A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the Pentagon to stop doing business with a Russian arms exporter that is providing weapons to Syria.
In a letter to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on Monday, the 17 Republicans and Democrats cited reports that the company, Rosoboronexport, has shipped weapons to Syria and recently signed a deal for 36 combat jets with President Bashar Assad’s government.
Separately, the Defense Department is buying 21 helicopters for the Afghan military from Rosoboronexport. The lawmakers said this no-bid contract is worth $375 million.
The senators complained that U.S. tax dollars should not be “indirectly subsidizing the mass murder of Syrian civilians.”
Leading the lawmakers were Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Democratic Sens. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York.