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Thursday, July 24, 2014, 09:15

UK will send arms to Russia despite tough talk

By Reuters in London and Kiev

Britain will continue to authorize the export of arms and military equipment to Russia despite the government's call for tough sanctions for Moscow's arming of separatist rebels in Ukraine, a group of lawmakers said on Wednesday.

A group of legislative committees that oversee arms exports said there are 251 export licenses in place for the sale of goods worth at least 132 million pounds ($225 million) to Russia. The report did not detail actual exports, just the licenses.

The permits cover sniper rifles, night sights, small-arms ammunition, gun mounts, body armor, military communications equipment and "equipment employing cryptography", or codes.

Britain has been the most vocal European advocate of tougher sanctions on Russia since the downing of Flight MH17.

Prime Minister David Cameron criticized France for going through with a deal to sell warships to Russia.

In March, then-foreign secretary William Hague said Britain would halt the sale to Russia of military equipment that could be used against Ukraine. The lawmakers' report said 31 licenses were subsequently revoked or suspended.

The British government said on Wednesday that its policy was not to export anything that could be used for internal repression or against Ukraine. It said most of the exported material was for "commercial use".

Also on Wednesday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said Kiev would impose sanctions on Russian individuals and companies that directly or indirectly support "terrorists" fighting against government troops in the country's east.

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