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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Amnesty Says Russia Broke Arms Embargo

Human rights group Amnesty International accused Russia and China on Tuesday of breaching a UN arms embargo by letting weapons into Sudan, where it said they were used in "grave violations" of international law.

Russia and China quickly rejected the report, and Sudan's government said it was "not justified."

Amnesty said it was "deeply dismayed" by the flow of arms allowed by Russia and China, both members of the UN Security Council, and said the weapons were often diverted to be used in conflicts in Darfur and neighboring Chad.

"The authority of the Security Council itself is being greatly undermined as the Sudanese authorities and armed groups in Darfur are allowed to act with such obvious impunity before the eyes of the world, importing and diverting arms to commit flagrant violations of international law," Amnesty said.

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry denied the allegations, saying, "No Russian weapons have been shipped to Darfur."

"Russia's military and technical cooperation with other countries is in line with international rules and norms," the ministry said in a statement. "Russia has fully abided by the provisions of resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, which ban arms shipments to Darfur."

In March 2005, the UN Security Council extended an arms embargo already in force for the rebels and the Sudanese Arab janjaweed militia in Darfur to include Sudan's government.

Amnesty said it was particularly concerned about Russian Mi-24 helicopter gunships acquired by the Sudanese Air Force that were allegedly being used to launch attacks in Darfur.

Moscow and Beijing should have been aware that their military equipment was "deployed by the Sudanese armed forces and militia for direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks in Darfur," Amnesty said

Sudanese government spokesman Bakri Mulah called the report "totally incorrect."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Chinese sales to African nations were "very limited and small in scale" but refused to say whether China has sold arms to Sudan. But Jiang said China does not sell arms to regions under UN embargo.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million made refugees in Darfur since 2003, when ethnically African rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated central government.

AP, Reuters