U.S Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) praised a recent decision by the Department of Defense to cut ties with Russian arms supplier Rosoboronexport. The company has been criticized for its weapons sales to Iran and to the Syrian regime which is responsible for the deaths of over 100,000 of its own people.
The decision also means our government will stop paying Rosoboronexport to supply Russian Mi-17 helicopters to an Afghan air force which lacks the personnel and resources to operate and maintain the aircraft. In July, Coffman introduced an amendment to the FY14 Department of Defense Appropriations Act to reduce funding for Afghanistan’s military by $553.8 million, an amount equal to the contract DOD entered into with Rosoboronexport for 30 Mi-17 helicopters, and transfers that funding into deficit reduction. Coffman’s amendment was overwhelmingly supported by a majority of the House of Representatives in a 346-79 vote.
Coffman was pleased to learn of the Pentagon’s decision to stop buying Russian-made helicopters for the Afghan air force given that the Afghans lack the capacity and expertise to fly and maintain these aircraft according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. “It made no sense to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on such a wasteful program so I think this is a victory for the American taxpayer,” said Coffman.