The US Department of Defense (Dod) has announced that it is not planning to change the terms of its contract with Russia or cancel agreements regarding the delivery of Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopters to the Afghan National Army (ANA).
US State department spokesman Mark Toner said told journalists at A press briefing that US Congress was to stick to the contract with Rosoboronexport when asked whether the nation was thinking to reassess its military relations with Russia in the wake of weapons supply to Syria.
Toner said he had not seen the letters sent by human rights organisations to US Congress and the Department of the Treasury, demanding that deals estimated worth $1bn with Russia be scrapped because Russia supplies arms to Syria.
The US DoD had said earlier that it respected Russian-Syrian contracts as the two nations possess wide experience of military and technological cooperation.
Rosoboronexport was awarded a $367.5m contract by the US Army Forces Command in May 2011 for the delivery of a total of 21 Mi-17V-5 helicopters, along with spare parts, ground-service facilities, detachable armaments and logistical support to the Afghanistan Army.
The helicopters are intended to enhance the Afghan national security forces’ capabilities for conducting urban warfare and special units operations against Taliban insurgents.
Rosoboronexport has so far completed delivery of nine helicopters to Afghanistan, while the remaining 12 are scheduled to be delivered in July 2012.
Russia supplies a range of weapons including anti-ship and air-defence missiles, armoured vehicles and aircraft to Syria, which it claims is a part of existing contracts and does not breach any international agreements.
Image: Rosoboronexport to deliver a total of 21 Mi-17V-5 helicopters to the Afghanistan Army. Photo: courtesy of US Army Tech. Sgt Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.