Members of Congress to Secretary Hagel: Use Ukraine Sanctions to Cut Off Taxpayer Dollars to Russian State-Arms Dealer
A bipartisan group of leading members of Congress today strongly urged Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to cut off taxpayer dollars to the Russian state-arms dealer, Rosoboronexport. The representatives on the letter, led by Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Kay Granger (R-TX) have worked to end future contracts with the company, but the Defense Department continues to implement an existing contract to purchase helicopters from the firm.
Under an Executive Order signed by President Obama Monday, those that operate in the Russian arms sector may be subject to sanction. In their letter, the representatives make the case that Executive Order, combined with the Defense Department’s ability to terminate contracts when doing so is in the U.S.’s interest, allows Secretary Hagel to end any current contracts.
“Given Russia’s recent actions that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including its support of the illegal referendum for Crimean separation, we strongly urge you to terminate these contracts,” they wrote. “As noted by President Obama in his Executive Order, Russia’s recent actions ‘undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.’ We agree and accordingly strongly urge you to cancel contracts with Rosoboronexport for the delivery of Mi-17s to the Afghan National Security Forces, for supplying spare parts or for the sustained maintenance of these helicopters.”