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Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Ellison cheers decision to nix Russian helicopter purchases for Afghanistan

Posted by: under 4th District, 5th District, Minnesota congressional Updated: November 18, 2013 - 11:16 AM

Opposition by U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum and bipartisan swath of Congress to Defense Department dealings with the Russian arms export agency Rosoboronexport helped block the purchase of helicopters bound for Afghanistan’s national security forces.

Ellison’s office on Monday hailed last week’s Pentagon decision to cancel the purchase of 15 additional Russian-built Mi-17 helicopters from Rosoboronexport, which has supplied Syrian President Bashar Assad's military forces.

The cargo helicopters were to be purchased next year. Both Minnesota Democrats were both on a congressional letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in July questioning the deal because of the agency’s ties to the Assad regime.

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