Russia has eased its weapons resale rules to alleviate secondary buyers’ fears of U.S. sanctions, according to an unpublished government decree cited by the Vedomosti business daily Wednesday.
Reports found that Russia sold the second-most weapons in 2018 despite five years of declining sales. Countries trading with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors currently face secondary sanctions under U.S. measures imposed in August 2017 over Moscow’s actions that include alleged election interference.
The new decree relaxes export control rules that required secondary arms buyers to inform Russia in writing that it was the final buyer, Vedomosti reported. These countries can now avoid direct contact with Russia by making the primary arms buyer responsible for informing Moscow that the secondary buyer vows not to resell the weapons.
“Foreign states voice interest in buying Russian military products but, fearing sanctions, refuse to purchase them,” an explanatory note was quoted as saying.
Russia’s relaxed regulations will free up Sub-Saharan African, Latin American and certain Southeast Asian states to purchase small arms and light weapons from Russia without fear of secondary sanctions, according to arms expert Konstantin Makienko.
The measures do not target China, India, Egypt, Algeria and Vietnam, which either ignore U.S. sanctions or negotiate exceptions for themselves, Vedomosti cited Makienko as saying.
Last September, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Chinese military for buying 10 Su-35 aircraft from Russia.