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    A US army soldier greets a supporter as a US army convoy arrives in Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, March 30, 2015.

    Czech Colonel Slams Rand Paul's Call to Ban Sale of Military Choppers as Comical

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    US Republican Senator Rand Paul wants Congress to ban the sale of military helicopters to the Czech Republic, which the State Department approved earlier this month. Along with the Czech Republic, the politician has also proposed blocking the sale of military equipment to Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

    Czech media are wondering how to explain the US senator's move. “The reasons are completely unclear”, the news outlet Aktualne.cz wrote. Military analyst and reserve Lieutenant Colonel Martin Koller commented on the US lawmaker’s move.

    Sputnik: How do you asses Senator Paul's initiative?

    Martin Koller: Senator Paul's proposal against an allied state, which in terms of the number of soldiers sent to foreign missions per population as a whole, has not been inferior to any other country, is simply comical. Most likely this has to do with one of today's main problems of Western democracies — corruption. It cannot be ruled out that the senator was bribed by Italian competitors or even "evil" Putin, who is known for being responsible for everything from bad weather to the failures of some democratic politicians.

    To put our republic in line with orthodox Islamist [sic] states is something on the verge of an insult. It should somehow be addressed, but I don't expect anything from our politicians. The opinion of Senator Paul perfectly demonstrates the influence and honour of the American politician, who, of course, is not alone in this proposal. This reminds me of the poor harvest of 1946, when another clever man, the US Secretary Byrnes (James Francis Byrnes served as US secretary of state in 1945-1947) had the sanctions against Czechoslovakia imposed because of the possible victory of the then Communist Party, led by Gottwald (Klement Gottwald in 1948 became the president of Czechoslovakia — Sputnik) in the elections. He halted imports from Canada.

    READ MORE: Prague in EU Drone Project More ‘Hypothetical' At Present — Czech Politician

    Sputnik: At one point, the Czech Army planned to modernise Russian Mi-171 helicopters for special operations. How did that end?

    Martin Koller: The Russian Mi-17/171 helicopters were upgraded at the LOM Praha factory, and were successfully used in Afghanistan. The presentation of the upgraded version was attended by the American ambassador. For many years, LOM has been engaged in the modernisation of this type of machine and their maintenance. In the end, the Mi-17, or the upgraded Mi-171, was also purchased by the US Army.

    These helicopters can serve the Czech Army for several more years. Czech aviation should use them until they have to be retired, since the pilots and technical staff are already trained for them. The same goes for the Mi-24s. I only hope for a pre-arranged buyer who will buy them at the factory price, and then sell them for a big profit. This would not be the first such case in our country.

    The views and opinions expressed by Martin Koller are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    helicopter, NATO, Rand Paul, Czech Republic, United States
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