Sends Mi-17 Helicopters To Ukraine, Russia Accuses US Of Violating Law International

Sends Mi-17 Helicopters To Ukraine, Russia Accuses US Of Violating Law International
US to deliver Mi-17 helicopters to Ukraine

International Military - Russian Ambassador to the United States (US) Anatoly Antonov accused Washington of violating international obligations and its own policies with its latest military aid package to Ukraine. According to him, Washington did not get Russia's permission before diverting four Mi-17 helicopters from their original destination of Afghanistan to Ukraine.

The diplomat was responding to an announcement last week by the US Department of Defense that the plane was scheduled to be handed over to Ukraine.

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The four Mi-17 helicopters are thought to be planes purchased by the US for the Afghan national army before the US-backed government in Kabul fell to Taliban forces in August last year.

Ukraine is handling the plane and should have sent it to Afghanistan. "The transfer of the helicopter was carried out in violation of the end-user certificate, which requires written approval from Russia," the Russian ambassador said.

He called it a "blatant violation" of the United States' obligations as a buyer and claimed Washington was blocking Russia's demands for an explanation. Antonov said Russia was also concerned about other weapons in the package. "The supply of shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles is in contravention of international agreements on mitigating the risks posed by diverting such weapons into the hands of bad actors," he said.

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He cited the 2007 UN General Assembly resolution on this issue and other documents. "The US itself recognizes the threat of proliferation of portable anti-aircraft missiles to third parties," Antonov said, adding that the two countries had a longstanding agreement to inform each other of all sales of such weapons systems to foreign countries.

In remarks published by the Russian Embassy on social media, Antonov warned that the supply of several rocket launchers to Ukraine poses a threat of an escalation of the crisis in Ukraine. He called the decision to give the weapons to Kiev "irresponsible".

"The aid package undermines Washington's position as a respectable arms supplier," the Russian ambassador said. Washington has been sending increasingly heavy weapons to Ukraine, claiming the US wants to help Kiev defend itself against Russia.

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American officials trusted Ukrainian assurances that the weapons would not be misused, including against targets in Russia. In an earlier statement, Kiev defended its right to attack Crimea, an area Russia considers part of its sovereign territory, with US-supplied weapons.

Both Ukraine and the US rejected Russia's reabsorption of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, after people there voted in a referendum to secede from Kiev. Russia attacked the neighboring country in late February, following Ukraine's failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreement, which it first signed in 2014, and Moscow's eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

The protocol brokered by Germany and France was designed to give breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state. The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine formally declare itself a neutral nation that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc.

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Kiev insists Russia's attacks are completely unwarranted and denies claims that it plans to retake the two republics by force.

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