Tula Arms Manufacturers Turn down American Accusations

The Tula Instrument-Making design bureau turns down the United States' accusations of Kornet antitank missile system shipments to Iraq.

The official statement, circulated on Tuesday, of the State Unitary Enterprise Instrument-Making design bureau says that it has signed no contracts or held relative negotiations with Iraq regarding possible shipment of Kornet or other weapons systems.

"We believe ungrounded and unfounded the United States' accusations against our enterprise," reads the statement.

In the opinion of General Designer Academician Arkady Shipunov, head of the design bureau, these accusations are intended to vindicate the failures of the American armed forces at the first stage of hostilities following the invasion of Iraq and complicate the design bureau's activities in the sphere of supplies of arms, which excel American samples in fighting efficiency.

The bureau only agrees that Kornet can stand up against any tank and mechanised infantry units. "If any appreciable amounts of such systems were in Iraq, the United States' ground forces would have suffered much heavier losses," reads the statement.

Arkady Shipunov said that his design bureau's arms contracts and shipments abroad "are made in keeping with Russian legislation and international-law norms, instead of rules set in the United States."