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Senator says US ending buys of Russian helicopters

A Republican senator says the Defense Department is canceling plans to buy additional cargo helicopters from the Russian arms export agency that is a top supplier of weapons to Syria's military forces.

The additional 15 Mi-17s were to be purchased next year at a cost of $345 million and then delivered to Afghanistan's national security forces.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas says in a statement Wednesday that he applauds the Defense Department's decision to stop doing business with Rosoboronexport.

Bipartisan opposition to the purchase of the Mi-17 helicopters has been building. Members of both political parties objected to acquiring military gear from the same Russian agency that is providing Assad's regime with arms and ammunition.

The Defense Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.