The new Russian ambassador to NATO has raised the issue of military patent infringement and promised to look into the production of the famous ‘Kalashnikov’ brand of automatic weapons by NATO countries.
“As I was preparing to take up my new post, I was astonished at the disrespect for proprietary rights in the field of armaments,” Dmitry Rogozin told a news conference on Thursday.
“Copyright law should not be only confined to art and culture, but must also cover armaments,” he said.
He said many countries, including some NATO and European Union members, produced Kalashnikov weapons. “We will find out on what licenses and agreements the production and supply of our automatic weapons is based and how much money the Russian Federation has lost,” he added.
He said the arms plant Arsenal in Bulgaria had sold 10,000 AK-47 Kalashnikov automatic rifles to Turkmenistan in 1994 and 60,000 in 2005, as well as 40,000 to Iraq in 2003. The plant also supplied arms to Georgia, Afghanistan, Indonesia and United Arab Emirates under multimillion-dollar contracts, the official added.
Rogozin said the plant’s branch in the U.S. state of Nevada had also sold 10,000 Kalashnikov-based semi-automatic weapons and that a Polish foreign trade association had sold 10,000 Kalashnikov weapons to Iraq.
“The same concerns Hungary, Romania and others,” he said pointing that “these are respected countries, member states of NATO and the European Union.”
Rogozin said the issue would see “serious discussions” if it was established that these countries had produced the weapons illegally and without due payments to Russia.
Rogozin, who starts work at NATO’s HQ in Brussels on January 28, stressed that there were norms and restrictions to be complied with by all NATO and EU countries.
A former chairman of the lower house committee for foreign affairs, Rogozin was earlier considered a pro-Kremlin politician and held the post of presidential envoy to the Kaliningrad Region, a Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania. He also formerly led the nationalist bloc Rodina (Motherland).
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