Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gas, weapons for Iran, and Kolchugas

Yesterday's London 'Times' reports:

"The American oil companies Chevron and ConocoPhillips could be shut out of a massive Arctic gas project in a sharp chilling of trade relations between Moscow and Washington.
Substantial volumes of liquefied gas from Shtokmanovskoye in the Barents Sea, originally earmarked for export to the United States, could be redirected to Europe, President Putin said.

The shift in policy, revealed by Mr Putin after talks with the French President and the German Chancellor at the weekend, will be a blow to efforts by American energy companies to secure access to one of the world’s largest gasfields.

Anger is mounting over continuing American resistance to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and a decision by the US State Department in August to impose sanctions on two Russian arms companies, Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi, for their alleged supply of arms to Iran."

More on the sanctions against the two arms companies here.

Now the latest 'Jane's Defence Weekly' claims Ukraine is selling the passive aerial target detection and identification system to Iran.

The story is not substantiated, and may or may not be true. I have seen no response until now from Ukrainian authorities.

The Kolchuga system is totally passive - on its own is incapable of swatting a single mosquito, but is effective in detecting 'stealth'-type weaponry.

The arms industry is an important earner of foreign currency for Ukraine. One of the reasons many Ukrainians are not keen on joining NATO is they [probably correctly] consider it would have a negative impact on its high-tech armaments industry, predominantly located in the eastern regions of the country.

It will be interesting to see if the US State Department pursue this further.

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