The Pentagon has notified Congress that it plans to stop buying Russian Mi17 helicopters for Afghanistan and will start buying American helicopters.
“I’ll never understand why the U.S. government sent taxpayer money to Russia for helicopters in Afghanistan while Russia was supporting the Assad regime in Syria and invading eastern Ukraine," said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy in announcing the decision on November 18.
"When the Pentagon buys helicopters, they should be made in America,” he said.
The Department of Defense, after buying Russian helicopters for Afghan forces, said it will transition to buying Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopters that are made in Connecticut, Murphy's home state.
Ironically, sanctions imposed on Russia by the West for its aggression in Ukraine have hampered the delivery of Russian helicopters and parts to Afghanistan in the last two years.
“In the face of Russia’s attempts to undermine our foreign policy goals in the Middle East and its continuing aggression in Ukraine, it is time that the United States end its reliance on Russian-made helicopters for operations in Afghanistan," said Representative Rosa DeLauro.
"We must prioritize American manufacturers and our hardworking men and women at home,” said DeLauro.
With reporting by TASS