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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine Still Providing Georgia With Weapons

Ukraine is openly continuing to supply Georgia with arms, and despite President Dmitry Medvedev’s order that those supplying weapons to Tbilisi face sanctions, Russia appears to be in no hurry to carry out the threat.

Eduard Kokoity, president of breakaway South Ossetia, said Monday that the United States, Ukraine and Israel were still arming Georgia.

In early July, Ukrainian newspaper Segodnya published an interview with Sergei Bondarchuk, chief of state arms exporter Ukrspetsexport, in which he said they were continuing to fulfill arms contracts signed earlier with Georgia.

Medvedev signed an order in January banning Russian companies from supplying arms to Georgia. The order also allows the government to halt military and technical cooperation with countries and companies that are delivering Soviet- or Russian-designed weapons. The Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation is responsible for determining who is in violation and for sending proposed sanctions to the government for approval.

Vedomosti sent questions to the service two weeks ago asking whether it was aware of Bondarchuk’s comments and whether a decision had been made on seeking sanctions against Ukrspetsexport, but the service has yet to respond.

Ukrspetsexport declined comment.

A source in the Russian defense industry said no sanctions had been introduced against Ukrspetsexport and that the company continued to work with partners in Russia. The Georgian Interior Ministry, which is also supplied with arms purchased abroad, declined comment, saying the matter was classified. The country’s Defense Ministry could not be reached for comment.

Georgia’s defense budget for 2009 is $500 million, down from last year’s $900 million, according to figures from Lawrence Sheets, head of International Crisis Group’s office in the Caucasus.

After last August’s war, Western suppliers are worried about selling weapons to Georgia, despite President Mikheil Saakashvili’s requests, said Mikhail Barabanov, scientific editor of the magazine Export Vooruzhenii.

But Ukraine has supplied weapons since the war as part of contracts signed in early 2008, including another 20 T-72B tanks and likely several dozen BTR-70DI armored personnel carriers and anti-tank Kombat rockets.

It is highly unlikely that Ukraine will face sanctions for its arms sales to Georgia, said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. They’re even less likely to affect the critically important enterprise Motor Sich, which is the monopoly producer of helicopter engines for the army and would be impossible to replace, Pukhov said.

Vyacheslav Boguslayev, chairman of Motor Sich and a Verkhovna Rada deputy from Party of the Regions, said the company had not delivered any military hardware to Georgia and has no plans to do so in the next 20 years. He said he thought that Russia was right to sanction suppliers of weapons to Georgia.