Thales denies selling weapons ‘used to kill civilians’ to Russia

Sarah Meyssonnier via Reuters

The head office of Thales in La Défense (photo taken on January 31, 2022).

WAR IN UKRAINE – A new French company singled out by kyiv. An adviser to the Ukrainian presidency on Friday (April 22) accused the French defense equipment group Thales of having circumvented sanctions and sold in 2015 to Russia equipment used in Ukraine to kill civilians. An assertion refuted by Thales.

On Twitter, Mikhaïlo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said that “a family [qui] was trying to escape […] was killed by Russian assassins”. “Killed, as now proven, with French weapons sold in 2015 to circumvent sanctions,” he added.

Denying having circumvented the sanctions against Russia, Thales, questioned by AFP, said it had “always strictly complied with French and international regulations, including concerning the application of the 2014 European sanctions against Russia”.

Thales defends itself from a “misleading” accusation

“No defense equipment export contract has been signed with Russia since 2014 and no delivery has been made to Russia since the start of the conflict in Ukraine”, according to the group, which adds that “any information suggesting otherwise is erroneous and therefore misleading”. The company says it has also decided to cease its activities in Russia.

In his publication, Mikhaïlo Podolyak relays the video of a Ukrainian blogger, Pavlo Kachchuk, who analyzes the damage caused to a car in which the body of a woman killed in Boutcha, near kyiv, was found.

“How could poorly trained Russian soldiers shoot so accurately with old post-Soviet equipment?” he wonders. “The answer, we found it in Vorzel [ville proche de Boutcha, ndlr]where our troops, after the Russian withdrawal, captured BMD-4 armored vehicles.″

These armored vehicles are equipped with “fire control systems that allow them to fire with great precision whatever the weather, the wind or even the time of day. Components and technology sold to the Russian Federation by the French company Thales”, continues the blogger.

He then shows a thermal camera which he claims was recovered from an abandoned Russian tank. The Thales logo is visible there, accompanied by the date 06/16 and the words “made in Russia”.

“It was assembled in Russia under license”, accuses the blogger. “This is just one of many schemes allowing French companies to circumvent the embargo.

The so-called “grandfather” clause put forward by France

These accusations follow those of the online media Disclose mid-March, according to which France delivered military equipment, including thermal cameras, to Russia between 2015 and 2020, i.e. after European sanctions following the annexation of Crimea by Moscow.

“According to “defense-confidential” documents obtained by Disclose and open source information, France has issued at least 76 war material export licenses to Russia since 2015,” the online media claimed.

Contracts for a “total amount of […] 152 million euros, as indicated in the latest report to Parliament on arms exports”, added Disclose, who has distinguished himself several times by publishing information on French arms sales.

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the European Union has imposed an arms embargo, but France has continued to supply equipment under contracts signed before that date.

“France strictly complies with its international commitments, in particular the arms trade treaty and the common position of the EU”, reacted on Twitter the spokesperson for the Ministry of the Armed Forces, Hervé Grandjean.

He had explained that “France [avait] allowed the execution of certain contracts signed since 2014 under the so-called ‘grandfather clause’, according to which “a contract concluded before the annexation of Crimea can come to an end”.

France had not reacted this Saturday morning to new accusations from the adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

See also on Le HuffPost: “Satan II”: Russia stages a test of its Sarmat missile

Source: Le Huffington Post by

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