Tuesday

31st May 2016

UK is still sending arms to Russia, say MPs

  • Exports include body armour, small arms ammunition, sniper rifles and military communications equipment (Photo: Yarden Sachs)

The UK is still exporting millions of euros worth of arms to Russia, despite fears that Moscow has been arming separatists in Ukraine.

A report by MPs, published Tuesday (23 July), said that 251 licences worth around £132m (€167m) were still in force although the government in March promised to stop sales to Russia.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Goods being exported include body armour, small arms ammunition, sniper rifles, military communications equipment and "software for equipment employing cryptography".

Sir John Stanley, head of the House of Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC), said that Russia is an "authoritarian regime" and the government should be restricting sales further.

"We should have been applying a more cautious approach for some time in regard to Russia."

The revelations come just a few days after the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines flight by suspected Moscow-backed rebels over eastern Ukraine.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was among those pushing for tough sanctions on Moscow in response.

He also sharply criticised other EU countries, among them France, for pursuing military deals with Russia despite its role in destabilising Ukraine.

In a speech before parliament ahead of an EU foreign ministers' meeting to discuss how to respond to the downing of the MH17 flight, Cameron said: "Future military sales from any country in Europe should not be going ahead. We have already stopped them from Britain."

Cameron's words prompted a rebuke from French politicians who said the UK should first look at the number of Russian oligarchs in London before criticising others.

“This is a false debate led by hypocrites … When you see how many [Russian] oligarchs have sought refuge in London, David Cameron should start by cleaning up his own back yard," said Jean-Christoph Cambadelis, the head of France's Socialist party.

Foreign minister Laurent Fabius made a similar point.

France for its part has indicated that its planned delivery of a Mistral warship to Russia in October will go ahead while the delivery of a second one will depend on Moscow's "attitude" in the coming weeks.

Juncker agrees to visit Russia in June

The EU Commission chief will attend an economic forum in Russia next month, just days before EU countries decide on whether to extend economic sanctions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCAEducation and Training 2020 - Giving Young People the Workplace Skills They Need
  2. EPSUTrade Unions Back New Undeclared Work Platform
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCould targeting children’s fitness boost academic performance?
  4. World VisionDeclares the World Humanitarian Summit a Positive Step in a Longer Journey to Ending Need
  5. EJCPresident Dr. Moshe Kantor on Brexit and the Jewish Question
  6. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  7. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  8. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  9. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  11. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  12. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan

Latest News

  1. EU watchdog calls for fines on shady lobbyists
  2. 2015 was 'a bad year' for EU human rights
  3. Deal with Greece will not work, says Guy Verhofstadt
  4. Greece says it cannot fulfil demands for loans
  5. Juncker agrees to visit Russia in June
  6. Pro-Brexit Tories predict Cameron leadership challenge
  7. Merkel and Hollande pledge unity at Verdun ceremony
  8. Russia mocks ex-Nato chief's new Kiev job