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Friday, August 11, 2006

Moscow ‘Bewildered’ by Claims Hizbollah Using Russian Arms

Fri, 11 Aug 2006, 01:30

Media reports that Hizbollah fighters are using Russian arms have left Moscow “bewildered,” Russian foreign ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said Aug. 10.

Asked about reports citing Israeli government officials as saying Hizbollah is using Russian anti-tank weapons, Kamynin said: “These kinds of insinuations lead to bewilderment in Moscow, at the very least,” according to a statement on the ministry’s website.

”We have already said more than once that Russia strictly observes all its international obligations in carrying out military-technical cooperation, including with countries in the Middle East,” Kamynin said.

”Our system of control over arms exports is among the most reliable, and excludes any possibility of arms winding up somewhere other than where they were intended,” Kamynin added.

Israeli Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter told a Russian newspaper earlier this week that “all the terrorists surrounding Israel” were using Russian weapons.

Russia has faced increasing criticism over its arms sales to countries associated with Hizbollah — as well as U.S. sanctions against two of its companies for arms sales to Iran — during the 29-day-old war in Lebanon between Israel and Hizbollah.

”All the terrorists surrounding Israel are using Russian- and Soviet-made arms: Kalashnikov assault rifles and Katyusha rockets,” Dichter told the Russian daily Vremya Novostei.

There have, however, been no official accusations from Israel or other countries that Russia is supplying Hizbollah with arms directly or indirectly.

”If there are any sort of questions, there are ordinary diplomatic channels for them. So far no such questions have arrived, nor has any kind of evidence been presented,” Kamynin said.
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