By Ateet Sharma
New Delhi, June 5: In an interesting development in the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Moscow has accused Washington of violating contractual obligations by supplying Mi-17 helicopters to Kyiv which it said were transferred to the United States exclusively for operation in Afghanistan.
As reported by IndiaNarrative.com on Thursday, the latest shipments of US military aid for Ukraine announced on June 1 includes four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), five counter-artillery radar systems; two air-surveillance radars; 1,000 Javelins and 50 command launch units; 6,000 anti-armour weapons; 15,000 155-mm artillery rounds; four Mi-17 helicopters; 15 tactical vehicles; and additional spare parts and equipment.
Insisting that the move would only delay the prospect of an early peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has labelled the delivery of Russian-built military helicopters to Ukraine as “another flagrant violation” by the American side of its international obligations.
“This understanding was legally enshrined in the relevant contract and end user certificate, which states in black and white that the said helicopters should be delivered to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for its armed forces. Only this way, and nothing else. However, these legal restrictions, as we see, are not an obstacle for Washington in its unbridled desire to pump weapons to Kyiv,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.
The spokesperson detailed that the Russian embassy in Washington had made an official presentation to the US Department of State, “demanding detailed explanations” as to why Mi-17s are being transferred to Ukraine without the knowledge and consent of the exporter, i.e. Russia, and contrary to established diplomatic practice but has received no “clear answer”.
“The behaviour of the United States is a blatant example of the policy of “double standards”, when Washington fulfills only the agreements that are convenient for it at a particular moment. Not to mention that this obvious violation of international law ultimately contributes to prolonging the conflict in Ukraine,” said Zakharova.
According to the US Defence Department, the security assistance committed to Ukraine as of April 21, 2022 includes as many as 16 Mi-17s.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had specifically made a request for Soviet-era military equipment which could be operated easily by the country’s military in the ongoing conflict against the Russian defence forces.
“These had been earmarked for Afghanistan… They are coming out of our stocks, our inventory, we have them, we didn’t obviously transfer them to Afghanistan. So, we’re now transferring them to Ukraine, I would remind that, as you probably remember, we had already provided Ukraine five Mi-17s not long ago. So, this is not the first time that we’ve given them Mi-17s,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in press briefing in April.
Russia also said on Friday that it believes that the American side is “irresponsibly supplying” long-range missile and artillery systems to Ukraine and justifying this by “allegedly receiving guarantees from Kyiv” that the supplied military aid will not go beyond the borders of Ukraine.
“In general, on the positions of Ukrainian nationalists, one can observe a whole set of foreign artillery, including long-range ones. There are also French Caesars, Polish Krabs, and American M109s. German PzH-2000s and Slovak Zuzans will appear soon. This is a real holiday for Western military concerns on the bones of civilians in this long-suffering land,” the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson had commented in a media briefing in Moscow on Friday.
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