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Ukraine Budget Missing Over Two Billion Dollars From Arms Sales

by Staff Writers
Kiev, Russia (RIA Novosti) Oct 15, 2008
Only a small portion of revenues from Ukrainian arms exports in the last four years was passed on to the state budget, the former head of a parliamentary ad-hoc investigation commission said on Friday.

"In the past four years, Ukraine exported over $2.5 billion in arms, but only about 1 billion hryvnias ($200 mln) was paid into our state budget. This is 12 times less," Valery Konovalyuk, from the opposition Party of Regions, said during a Kiev-Moscow video conference.

He also said his commission had obtained documents from Ukraine's State Treasury confirming the discrepancies.

"On instructions from the prime minister, a probe into the financial activities of Ukrspetsexport [the state arms exporter] has been launched," Konovalyuk said.

The parliamentary commission was set up after Russia accused Ukraine of supplying Georgia with heavy weaponry prior to a brief military conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi in August.

Ukraine's State Council on Security and Defense immediately dismissed Konovalyuk's allegations, calling them "absurd."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on October 2 that he considered alleged Ukrainian arms supplies to Georgia during the recent war over South Ossetia "a crime."

"I don't think there is a graver crime than supplying arms to a conflict zone," Putin told his Ukrainian counterpart, Yulia Tymoshenko, during their meeting at the Russian premier's residence near Moscow.

Konovalyuk earlier suggested that the recent dissolution of the Ukrainian parliament could have been designed to hamper his committee's investigation into the illegal arms sales.

"I do not rule out the possibility that the dissolution of parliament may be partially caused by the desire to hamper the work of the commission, but we will certainly finish our investigation and make the results public," the former MP said.

However, with the dissolution of Ukraine's parliament the activities of the commission have effectively been ended and the future of the investigation remains vague.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Bulgaria-Russia agreement soon in historic arms licence row
Sofia (AFP) Oct 9, 2008
Bulgaria and Russia could soon sign an agreement over former Soviet arms licensing fees which Moscow has been claiming since the fall of Communism in 1989, government officals said Thursday.

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