Law­mak­ers seek end to deal with Rus­sian firm

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics -

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.

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