Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov has rejected accusations against Russia of breaking the embargo on weapon deliveries to Iraq. Ivanov made this statement at a press conference in Minsk following the collegium of the Russian and Belarussian Defence Ministries. "They have no grounds to speak about Russia's breaking international sanctions," the Russian defence minister stressed. He said that such accusations had been brought against Russia before and "were likely to be brought in the future", but they were "absolutely groundless". "In the case with Iraq we have never received any strong evidence," he pointed out.
"The Soviet Union as well as other countries had legitimately supplied arms patterns to Iraq before the sanctions were imposed," Sergei Ivanov stressed. "In general, we have always acknowledged that we are not perfect in terms of arms deliveries to different states. Moreover, other countries are far from perfect in this issue either," he said. "Every time these groundless accusations against Russia appeared only when someone was interested in it," he stated. "As soon as the situation in a region escalated, accusations against Russia were immediately brought, while in the regions where the situation remained stable, there were no accusations," the minister pointed out. "We have brought as many accusations of this kind against different countries via secret channels, and perhaps even more." Sergei Ivanov thanked mass media covering the military operations in Iraq for free advertising of Russian arms.