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Russia changes mind on helicopter contract with U.S.


MOSCOW, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Russia saw no point in further cooperation with the U.S. on delivery of military transport helicopters for the Afghan army, its state military-technical exports agency said Thursday.

"We don't see prospects for future cooperation with the U.S.", Rosoboronexport head Vladislav Kuzmichev said during HeliRussia-2014 Expo salon, reversing his earlier statement the arms deal would be honored.

Kuzmichev said Wednesday that Rosoboronexport saw no grounds for canceling the contract with the United States despite the sanctions the West has imposed on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

He cited the scheduled withdrawal of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan in December as a reason for canceling the deal.

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

The first contract for the supply of 21 Mi-17B-5 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 about 1.3 billion U.S. dollars.