Sunday

26th Mar 2017

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.

EU readies new sanctions on defiant Russia

EU ambassadors meeting in Brussels on Thursday are set to discuss a raft of new sanctions on Russia, as Moscow has shown no signs of wanting to meet an EU ultimatum over Ukraine.

Rome summit tries to restart EU momentum

EU 27 leaders in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome, in bid to counter rising challenges after Brexit. But new ideas are scarce.

'Mr Putin steps into French elections'

Putin treated France's anti-EU firebrand, Le Pen, as if she had already won the elections. "I have my own viewpoint ... identical to Russia's", she said.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change