David Cameron has vowed to double check the UK’s arms deals with Russia, as pressure increases on the government to end all contracts with President Putin in the wake of the MH17 disaster.
Following a letter from the chair of the committee on arms export control yesterday, Cameron said he would look again at all existing licenses for export and “act swiftly” to make sure weapons are not being shipped to Russia.
Sir John Stanley, the chair of the committee, called on the Prime Minister to clarify the UK’s stance on exporting weapons and components used in military technology to Moscow, after it emerged that 285 licences remain active despite Cameron saying exports had been halted.
“We will look very carefully at all outstanding licences,” Cameron told the BBC in response to calls from Labour to release full details of the remaining export contracts.
A government spokesperson confirmed that any export contracts with Russia are for domestic weapons such as shotguns bought by collectors. 174 such guns have been exported in the last two years. Military equipment is exported to the Brazilian navy, based in Russia, for repairs, she added.
The row erupted as the bodies of the Malaysian airlines crash victims began to arrive in the Netherlands yesterday for identification, a process which could take months. Investigators at the crash site said some remains are yet to be collected.