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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia pushing ban on illegal production of Kalashnikov rifles

RIA Novosti

28/04/2006 14:23

MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state-controlled arms exporter will push to stop the illegal production and supplies of Kalashnikov assault rifles, a company spokesman said Friday.

"Rosoboronexport is resolved to use all available legal means to press for an end to the illegal production and supplies of Kalashnikov automatic rifles," Valery Kartavtsev said, adding that Russian enterprises intended to file lawsuits against illegal producers.

Rosoboronexport Deputy Director Nikolai Shvets said 11 countries were producing Kalashnikov assault rifles illegally.

"The terms of all contracts on licensed production of AK rifles were signed with 18 states during the Soviet era have now expired. Eleven states are producing these rifles illegally," he said, adding that talks were under way with eastern European countries on the use of hundreds of licenses that were issued in the Soviet period.

Shvets said license agreements had recently been signed with Hungary, as well as with Israel, Turkey, Kazakhstan, India and France, and talks were in progress with China, Italy, the Czech Republic and a number of other countries.

Kalashnikov producer Izhmash earlier said Russia accounted for only 10-12% of the million Kalashnikov rifles sold globally every year.

"The rest are unlicensed copies," Izhmash chief executive Vladimir Grodetsky said, adding that there was no single license agreement conforming to international legal norms that specifically protected Russia's intellectual property rights in small arms and light weapons production.

"In some instances, the terms of such agreements have expired, while in others different-caliber weapons are being made, since all licenses for the production of Kalashnikov rifles were issued decades ago," he said.

According to Rosoboronexport, the Kalashnikov is currently in service in the armed forces of more than 50 countries and a Kalashnikov assault rifle can be seen in the national coats of arms of six states.

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