Russia to honor contract with U.S. on Afghanistan arms deal

MOSCOW, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Russia is ready to deliver another batch of military transport helicopters for the Afghan army under a contract with the United States, the Russian state military-technical exports agency said Wednesday.

According to Rosoboronexport chief Vladislav Kuzmichev, nine Mi-17V5 helicopters have been waiting for delivery.

"As of April, a total of 12 helicopters have been supplied to Afghanistan, and work is completed for building another nine helicopters," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Kuzmichev as saying.

He said Rosoboronexport saw no grounds for canceling the contract with the United States despite the sanctions the West has imposed on Russia amidst the crisis in Ukraine.

The Pentagon also said earlier that it had won congressional consent to make its contract with Rosoboronexport an exception from the sanctions.

In line with the deal, Russia should supply Afghan authorities with 30 aircraft in total.

The first contract for the supply of 21 helicopters was signed between Rosoboronexport and the U.S. in May 2011 and has been completed.

Last year, Rosoboronexport signed another contract for the delivery of 30 additional helicopters. The two contracts are estimated to be worth around 1.3 billion U.S. dollars.