Blumenthal, Coats, Cornyn Introduce Bill To Sanction Russian Arms Dealer

(Washington, DC) U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) today introduced the Russian Weapons Embargo Act of 2014, bipartisan legislation that would sanction Russia’s Rosoboronexport – the sole state agency for export of Russian weapons systems and defense-related goods

The proposal would forbid the direct or indirect use of American tax dollars to enter contracts or agreements with Rosoboronexport and immediately terminate existing contracts and agreements with the agency. The legislation also would prohibit contracts with any domestic or foreign company that cooperates with Rosoboronexport to design, manufacture or sell military equipment.

“The hostile situation in Ukraine is yet another recent example of why the United States should stop doing business with Russia and its arms dealer,” said Blumenthal. “This legislation sends a clear message to Russia and Rosoboronexport: America will not do business with countries that behave irresponsibly and companies that arm terrorist regimes.”

“Given Russia’s hostile actions in Ukraine, business as usual is unacceptable,” said Coats. “With American credibility and the future of the international order on the line, our actions should reflect that. This specific economic sanction will harm Russian interests in a serious way without damaging America’s economy.”

“It’s time to put an end to this hypocritical relationship and end all contracts with Rosoboronexport,” said Cornyn. “Considering Rosoboronexport’s close connection with Vladimir Putin and his cronies, and its ties to brutal dictators who’ve committed mass atrocities, there is no reason for our military to continue to rely on equipment from thugs masquerading as a legitimate business.”

Rosoboronexport facilitates and funds Putin’s foreign policy objectives through the sale of military equipment and technology, handling more than 80 percent of Russia's weapons exports.

The agency is the chief supplier of arms to Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is using these weapons to murder innocent Syrian civilians. Rosoboronexport has committed to provide Syria with S–300 advanced anti-aircraft missiles, and under a $100 million contract from the Assad government, Rosoboronxport is delivering 36 Yakovlev Yak-130 jets, even as the Syrian Air Force continues to bomb civilian targets.