France, Germany and Italy sold hundreds of millions worth of arms to Russia
They sold military kit to the Kremlin for years despite an EU embargo banning it
They were three of at least 10 countries to use a loophole to get past the ban
France alone sold €152million out of a total €350million (£293million) exported
France, Germany and Italy used a loophole in a ban of exporting arms to Russia to send the Kremlin €296million worth of military equipment that is now being used against Ukraine.
They were just three of at least 10 EU member states to export almost €350million (£293million) in equipment that can include missiles, rockets, ships and bombs.
It should have been impossible to do so owing to an EU embargo that banned selling arms to Russia following the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
A T-72B3 is one of the tanks French military kit could be equipped on. Pictured: A T-72B3 during a military drill in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 14, 2022, ten days before the war in Ukraine started
France, Germany and Italy used a loophole in a ban of exporting arms to Russia to send the Kremlin €296million worth of military equipment that is now being used against Ukraine. They were just three of at least 10 EU member states to export almost €350million (£293million) in equipment that can include missiles, rockets, ships and bombs
The EU banned ‘the direct or indirect sale, supply, transfer or export of arms and related material of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts therefore, to Russia’ eight years ago.
However, countries were able to sell hundreds of millions of pounds worth of kit to Russia despite the ban using a backdoor technicality that permitted contacts signed before August 1, 2014, or additional contracts that would help conclude those deals.
France was responsible for the majority of exports, raking in €152 million in sales, as revealed by Disclose.
Ukraine claimed to have shot down a Russian Su-30SM jet, which could have had French infrared kit on board, over the outskirts of Kyiv, with wreckage falling on a house and leaving several people injured
A Russian helicopter is shot down somewhere over Kyiv (left), while the wreckage of what appears to be a jet falls from the skies near the capital (right). European detecting systems may have been attached to Russian helicopters
That amounts to 44 per cent of European arms exported to Russia, as reported by Investigate Europe.
From 2015 French authorities allowed the sale of weapons that fell into the category of bombs, rockets, torpedoes, missiles and explosive charges to Russia.
Other exports included thermal imaging cameras for more than 1,000 Russian tanks, including T-80BVMs and T-72B3s, and infrared spotters for attack jets and helicopters.
Even in 2014 France was still allowing the sale of chemical and biological weapons to Moscow.
Germany came in at a close second, exporting 35 per cent of all EU arms to Putin with €121.8million sold.
Italy sold the third most, exporting €22.5million from 2015 to 2020. They also allegedly sold €21.9million in arms and ammunition to Russian civilians and paramilitary groups between January and November 2021.
Britain also sold £1.7million worth of army to Russia after the EU ban was imposed.
President Zelensky of Ukraine has maintained calls for more Western support, weapons as well as a no-fly zone as Putin’s invasion today entered its fourth week.
Vladimir Putin today held a huge rally to prop-up support for his invasion of Ukraine in front of thousands of ‘Z’ flag-waving Russians crammed into Moscow’s Luzhniki World Cup stadium.
The pro-war event saw the Russian talk about the success of his ‘special operation’ in Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin today held a huge rally to prop-up support for his invasion of Ukraine in front of thousands of ‘Z’ flag-waving Russians crammed into Moscow’s Luzhniki World Cup stadium
Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.
As his bombs continued to fall just hundreds of miles away in Ukraine, Putin boasted of Russia and Crimea’s ‘shared destiny’, and praised the peninsula’s people for voting in a referendum to be part of Russia – which was held while it was still occupied by Russian troops.
‘We are united by the same destiny,’ he said of the people of Russia and Crimea. ‘This is how the people thought and that’s what they were guided by when they had the referendum in Sevastopol.
‘They want to share their historical destiny with their motherland Russia – let us congratulate them on this occasion, it is their occasion. Congratulations,’ he said to huge cheers.
Putin repeated false claims about neo-Nazis in Ukraine, a line he has used repeatedly in an attempt to justify his invasion – despite Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky being Jewish, and far-right parties enjoying almost no political support in the country.