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Lawmakers seek end to US deal with Russian firm
US lawmakers call on Pentagon to stop business with Russian arms exporter working with Syria
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the Pentagon to stop doing business with a Russian arms exporter that is providing weapons to Syria.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday, the 17 Republicans and Democrats cited reports that the company, Rosoboronexport, has shipped weapons to Syria and recently signed a deal for 36 combat jets with President Bashar Assad's government.

Separately, the Defense Department is buying 21 helicopters for the Afghan military from Rosoboronexport. The lawmakers said this no-bid contract is worth $375 million.

The senators complained that U.S. tax dollars should not be "indirectly subsidizing the mass murder of Syrian civilians."

Leading the lawmakers were Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and New York's Kirsten Gillibrand.

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