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Defence Ministry dismisses breach of anti-Russia sanctions

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Prague, April 11 (CTK) – The Czech Defence Ministry today dismissed the accusation of having breached the West’s anti-Russia sanctions on the trade in military material by nodding to LOM Praha, the state-run aircraft repairer, signing a contract for spare parts supply with Russia.

The ministry reacted to the information in a video appearing on the Restart TV Facebook profile.

Opposition TOP 09 chairman Miroslav Kalousek highlighted the affair on Facebook on Monday. He said Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) will have to explain the deal to lawmakers in the Chamber of Deputies.

According to Restart TV, LOM Praha, controlled by the Defence Ministry, knowingly violated the sanctions when it signed three contracts, concerning helicopter repairs, cooperation on the repair of aggregates and a spare parts supply, with Russia.

The Defence Ministry said today it is true that LOM has been importing helicopter spare parts from Russia, but this is no breach of sanctions because the import of spare parts for helicopters used by the EU countries’ armies has been exempted from the sanctions.

Furthermore, the sanctions do not apply to contracts signed before August 1, 2014. This provision enables the import of spare parts for any helicopters repaired by LOM, the ministry wrote.

It wrote that LOM is now repairing four Mi-17V-5 helicopters of the Afghan air force, which were damaged in combat.

In this connection, LOM has bought the spare parts from Russia. Their final user will be Afghanistan, whose defence ministry has already issued the final user certificate, the Ministry wrote, dismissing Restart TV’s information that a final user certificate has been issued by LOM, with a stamp of the Czech Defence Ministry and the signature of Deputy Defence Minister Tomas Kuchta.

Kuchta in fact signed another document, a final user certificate for the technical documentation linked to the helicopter repair, which will remain a property of LOM, the ministry wrote.

It said it is considering filing a legal action over the allegations in Restart TV’s video.


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