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Public Statements

Begich Applauds Pentagon Decision to Cease Purchasing Russian Helicopters for Afghanistan

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The Pentagon has followed through on a request made by U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and several of his colleagues this past July to cancel its plans to buy $345 million dollars' worth of helicopters made by a Russian state-owned manufacturer who is also supplying arms to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

In July, Sens. Begich and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) wrote to President Obama requesting that the Department of Defense (DOD) sever all ties with Rosoboronexport and halt the order for 15 more Mi17 helicopters for the current fiscal year.

"I'm pleased that the Pentagon heard the strong concerns of me and my colleagues about taxpayer dollars being sent to a corporation associated with the atrocities of the brutal Assad regime," said Begich. "This was the right decision from the Pentagon."

Rosoboronexport has supplied the Assad regime with guns, grenades, tank parts, attack aircraft, anti-ship cruise missiles, and air defense missiles and is now planning to sell advanced anti-aircraft 300 weapons systems.


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