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Ukraine still supplying arms to Georgia - MP

RIA Novosti

16:58 08/10/2009 KIEV, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine continues shipping arms and military equipment to Georgia, a member of the Ukrainian parliament said on Thursday.

"The Yushchenko-Saakashvili arms business goes on," said Valeriy Konovalyuk, former head of a parliamentary commission that looked into Ukrainian arms supplies to Georgia following the August 2008 conflict in the Caucasus.

He said, in particular, modern air-defense systems were being sold "for peanuts" to the Georgian military.

"After the end of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict in 2008, Ukraine - through the state-controlled company Ukrspetsstroi - continues deliveries of arms and military equipment to Georgia," he said.

He added that later in October Ukrspetsstroi plans to sell to Georgia 12 modern T-84 Oplot tanks, among other weapons.

He said that upcoming deliveries include 10 T-72 tanks, three BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, 20 Igla man-portable antiaircraft missile systems and 40 Strela shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile systems, as well as an assortment of ammunition, shells and rockets.

However, he said proceeds from arms sales were not going to the state budget or being used for military needs.

"In the past four years, arms sales yielded $2.5 billion with only around $200 million reaching the budget," he said.

Meanwhile, Konovalyuk said the Ukrainian Armed Forces "are in a sorry state," with rampant abuses, especially in arms procurement, misuse of funds, and land scams, which cost the nation millions of dollars.

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