EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Wikileaks About Russian Tanks: Pirates Were Right

Posted by Info on 13/12/2010

Two years ago the news was published about the hijacking of the Ukranian ro/ro Faina by Somali pirates. The pirates were surprised to discover that the ship was loaded with arms, including 33 Russian T-72 battle tanks. The pirates claimed that the arsenal was headed for the regional government in southern Sudan. The governments of the Ukraine and Kenya vehemently denied that this was the case, claiming that the arms were intended to be delivered to the Kenyan military.

According to several secret State Department cables made public by WikiLeaks, the tanks not only were headed to southern Sudan, but they were the latest installment of several underground arms shipments. By the time the freighter was seized, 67 T-72 tanks had already been delivered to bolster southern Sudan’s armed forces against the government in Khartoum, an international pariah for its human rights abuses in Darfur.

Bush administration officials knew of the earlier weapons transactions and chose not to shut them down, an official from southern Sudan asserted in an interview, and the cables acknowledge the Kenyan officials’ assertions that they had kept American officials informed about the deal. But once the pirates exposed the arms pipeline through Kenya, the Obama administration protested to the Ukrainian and Kenyan governments, even threatening sanctions.

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