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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Arms Sale May Cut U.S. Aid

WASHINGTON -- President Bill Clinton's administration is considering a cutoff of about $50 million in U.S. aid to Russia because of a potential arms sale to Syria.

The threat was raised Friday after reports that Russia was considering sale of antitank weapons to Syria.

U.S. law requires withholding aid if lethal military equipment is transferred to a country listed as a sponsor of terrorism, as Syria has been for years, a State Department official said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying "we do not recognize the extraterritorial nature of American laws, be that Cuba, Iran or Syria."

"We proceed from the fact that military cooperation between sovereign states is their inalienable right in conformity with the right to self-defense, recorded in the UN Charter,'' he said.

A U.S. official said the antitank deal is different from past equipment sales by Russia to Syria. "The equipment is lethal, and that's different from ordinary military gear," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.