Wednesday

7th Dec 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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  3. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  5. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  6. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  7. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  8. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  9. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  10. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  11. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  12. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals