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Cablegate: (C) Russian Missiles for Us Navy Coming From

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L PRAGUE 000337

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/07/2015
TAGS: MASS PREL EZ UP BO RS
SUBJECT: (C) RUSSIAN MISSILES FOR US NAVY COMING FROM
BELARUS

Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor Mark Canning for reasons ...
3/9/2005 6:49 C O N F I D E N T I A L PRAGUE 000337 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/07/2015 TAGS: MASS PREL EZ UP BO RS

1. (C) THIS IS AN ACTION REQUEST. SEE PARAGRAPH 4. The US Navy has for some time been planning an open commercial purchase of 23 KH-31 (or MA-31) Russian sea-skimming missiles from a Czech arms dealer. It has come to our attention that the missiles are coming from Belarus, via a series of complicated transactions. This arrangement is reportedly necessary because the Russians themselves refused to sell the missiles to the Czech arms dealer.

2. (C) 23 of the KH-31 missiles are currently in Belarus, where they have been for as long as three decades. The propsed sale of these missiles to the US Navy would begin with a transaction between the Russian Army and the Belarus Army, under which 23 newer missiles would be sent from Russia to Belarus. This is possible since the border between the two states lacks a customs inspection. As part of a cashless barter deal, the Belarus Army would ship back other goods. Once the newer missiles arrive in Belarus, The Belarus Army would sell the older missiles to a private firm in Belarus, which would then sell the missiles to a private firm in Ukraine. Post was told that it was not possible to ship the missiles directly from Russia to Ukraine.

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3. (C) The Ukranian middleman would take a 20% cut and pass the missiles on to the Czech arms dealer, who would bring them to the Czech Republic and make them available to the US contractor for delivery to the US. The Czech export license would only show that the missiles had come from the Ukraine. However, the serial numbers on the missiles would make it possible to trace their origin to Belarus.

4. (C) Post requests guidance. Post's believes this might be the only way for the US to acquire these missiles. Is the Navy's need for these missiles strong enough to overcome US objections to military purchases, even indirectly involving Belarus?

CABANISS

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