En gruppe russiske marineoffiserer er tatt under forsøk på å smugle anti-ubåtmissiler og bomber i størrelsesorden over 140 millioner kroner til Kina. Våpenlasten ble stanset i Tadsjikistan.

140 millioner er ganske mye penger. Hvis en gruppe offiserer kan orde en slik transaksjon, hva er de ellers i stand til? Man undres på at Kina er mottaker. Det lyder ikke spesielt troverdig. Kina trenger neppe drive med smugling. Hvis det var for våpentekniske grunner, trenger man ikke en hel last. Det er mange ubesvarte spørsmål i denne historien. Mye er mulig i dagens Russland.

Russia has intercepted an attempt by a group of naval officials to smuggle $18 million worth of anti-submarine missiles and aviation bombs from Russia to China, officials said on Wednesday.

«A few days ago we sent material to start criminal proceedings against navy officials and some businessmen who brought 30 contraband anti-submarine missiles and 200 aviation bombs into Tajikistan for onward sale to China for $18 million,» said Russia’s chief military prosecutor, Sergei Fridinsky.

«The ammunition was detained in Tajikistan,» he told a meeting of prosecutors chaired by President Dmitry Medvedev.

Tajikistan is a former Soviet republic that borders China and Afghanistan and because of its porous borders, smugglers often transport contraband, mostly narcotics, through it.

Russian navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said the smuggling attempt was uncovered by a joint operation of the military, prosecutors and the FSB federal security service.

«I am authorised to confirm the information about an attempt by a group of people to smuggle out weapons to one of the ex-Soviet states,» he said, without giving further details.

A source close to the investigation said senior Russian Navy officials might be linked to the smuggling.

«We are now conducting checks on the possible complicity of some senior Navy officials, including vice- and rear-admirals, to this fraud,» the official told Interfax news agency on condition of anonymity.

He said the ammunition was reported to have been disposed of as obsolete, but in fact the intact missiles and bombs had been bound for China. «At the same time, $1.6 million was allocated and spent on the disposal from the state coffers.»

It was unclear to whom the smugglers planned to sell the weapons or what the buyer planned to do with them.

Prosecutors in Tajikistan said they had not yet received evidence from Russia’s military about the plot.

«We’ve already heard about the case but we have not yet received the material,» RIA Novosti news agency quoted Yusuf Rakhmonovthe, the top Tajik military prosecutor, as saying.

Russia has a military base in Tajikistan, but its soldiers no longer guard the landlocked Central Asian nation’s borders with Afghanistan and China.

Earlier this month the United States agreed a deal with Tajikistan to allow NATO to move non-military supplies through the country to its forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Russian missiles seized on way to China