Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, cited the conflict in Ukraine in her latest argument about the Pentagon’s purchase of Russian-made helicopters to equip Afghan security forces.

“Given Russia’s recent actions that violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including its support of the illegal referendum for Crimean separation, we strongly urge you to terminate these contracts,” DeLauro and Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, wrote in a letter Wednesday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, also signed the letter

“Since coming to Congress, I have voiced strong opposition to the Department of Defense’s decision to buy Mi-17 helicopters from Rosoboronexport, a Russian company, instead of Sikorsky,” Esty said. “Russia is the main arms supplier fueling the Assad regime’s violence in Syria, and now, in light of Russia’s blatant violation of their international obligations and Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

Rosoboronexport was the winning competitor to Sikorsky for the Afghan helicopter contract.

Citing President Obama’s use of limited sanctions against Russia this week, the lawmakers said they want Hagel to void the Pentagon’s contracts with Rosoboronexport for the delivery of Mi-17s to the Afghan National Security Forces, for supplying spare parts or for the sustained maintenance of these helicopters.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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