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WikiLeaks: US attempted to purchase KH-31 missiles in Belarus
Below is the full version of the documents provided to the online Naviny.by newspaper by representative of the WikiLeaks media organization Israel Shamir.
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 SUBJECT: (C) RUSSIAN MISSILES FOR US NAVY COMING FROM BELARUS Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor Mark Canning for reasons 1.4 (a) (b) (c)
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.
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?
WikiLeaks: Czech officials objected to US purchase of missiles in Belarus because of critical attitude towards Lukashenka
3/10/2005 16:26 C O N F I D E N T I A L PRAGUE 000356 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/10/2015 TAGS: MASS, PREL, EZ, BO, RS, UP SUBJECT: (C) US NAVY POTENTIAL PURCHASE OF RUSSIAN MISSILES FROM BELARUS: CZECHS RECONSIDERING EXPORT LICENSE REF: PRAGUE 337 Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor Mark Canning for reasons 1.4 (a) (b) and (c)
1. (C) Poloff was shown March 10 the request for an export license filed by the Czech firm that is working to provide an initial shipment of 23 Russian-made sea-skimming missiles (KH-31) to the US Navy. The application showed the name and address of the firm in Minsk that was supplying the missiles, but contained no other information about the role Belarus plays in this transaction. After issuing a preliminary opinion in favor of the transaction, partly in the belief that the U.S. supported the purchase, the Czechs are now putting the license application on hold while they gather more information and reconsider. The Czech government has been very critical of the Lukashenko regime, and some in the MFA, particularly those responsible for the promotion of human rights and democracy, have voiced objection to the deal. The matter has now been passed to ХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХ, who will make the final decision, possibly over the next couple of weeks. Please provide the U.S. Government position on the proposed purchase.
WikiLeaks: Czech government prevented US from purchasing missiles in Belarus through Czech arms dealer
4/1/2005 14:50 C O N F I D E N T I A L PRAGUE 000470 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/01/2015 TAGS: MASS, PREL, BO, EZ, RS SUBJECT: (C) CZECH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALLY SAYS NO TO SALE OF MISSILES FROM BELARUS TO US NAVY REF: A. PRAGUE 337 B. PRAGUE 356 Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor Mark Canning for reasons 1.4 (a) (b) and (c)
1. (C) The Czech government has formally denied the license request of a Czech arms dealer to broker the sale of Russian KH-31 missiles, now in the possession of a state-run firm in Belarus, to the U.S. Navy. Poloff was told April 1st that the MFA licensing office had on March 31 sent a formal letter to the office within the Ministry of Industry and Trade which is responsible for arms sales, informing it of the MFA's decision. To confirm this, ХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХХ, called his counterpart at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, who told him that no license has been approved, or will be approved for this transaction. The Czech government considers the matter closed and expressed its thanks for the consultations with the U.S. government.