France continued to issue arms export licences to Russia after the 2014 embargo, investigative website Disclose has revealed.
According to leaked documents, French companies delivered arms to Russia after the EU imposed sanctions, including an arms embargo, against Russia in 2014. France has since issued more than 70 licences to export military equipment to companies worth €152 million.
Contacted by EURACTIV France, the Armed Forces ministry confirmed that France “allowed “the execution of certain contracts concluded before 2014”, something the EU embargo against Russia allowed.
According to the ministry, other European countries did the same. Additional export licences the ministry considered problematic like those for Mistral fighter jets had not been fulfilled.
But equipment delivered after 2014 would have enabled Russia’s army and air force to modernise its vehicles, notably with cameras and navigation systems for aircraft, Disclose reported. According to the ministry, this is a “residual flow from past contracts […] that has gradually died out” and is mentioned in annual reports to parliament.
The latest report to parliament on arms deliveries from 2021 shows a considerable decrease since 2016 in the number of delivery licences granted by France, both in terms of number and value of equipment delivered, with 2020 seeing the lowest figure of around €300,000.
Since 2018, Russia has not placed any more arms orders despite being France’s largest buyer from 2011, the report states.
15 Mar 2022