An EU embargo on weapons exports to Russia was not enforced until April 8, according to website Facts4EU.org. It alleges that the closure of a loophole was carried out 43 days after Russia invaded Ukraine.
The site claims the EU is embarrassed it did not include the closing of the loophole in a press statement announcing the latest round of sanctions on Russia.
Deputy leader of The Reclaim Party, Martin Daubney, told Express.co.uk: “It is truly shameful the European Union only closed the loophole on arms sales to Russia 11 days ago, 43 days after Putin rolled his tanks over the Ukrainian border.
“It took five waves of voting before this loophole was closed. It just goes to show the European Union puts profit before principles at every juncture. They talk tough, they puff up their chests and then on the back hand they’re selling weapons to Putin, directly funding and empowering his tyrannical invasion.”
The EU imposed sanctions on Russia in March 2014 in response to its illegal annexation of Crimea and Sebastopol.
In July 2014, the EU introduced an embargo on arms sales to Russia, which came into effect on August 1 the same year.
But the delay gave arms dealers weeks to sign new deals which could beat the embargo.
According to Facts4EU.org, this resulted in £292.5million (€352.4million) worth of military equipment and ammunition sales to Russia between 2014-20.
Of the total, France accounted for £193.9million (€233.7million) while the UK sold Russia nothing.
However, Facts4EU.org reports that it was only pressure from Poland and Lithuania which won agreement from EU states to close the loophole.
The EU maintains that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and is causing massive loss of life and injury to civilians.
But Facts4EU.org states: “When on April 11 the EU did finally decide to pass the regulations to enforce its own ban properly it could not even find the stomach to announce its actions, as that would have given prominence to the fact the loophole had existed for eight years.
“This is another example where the EU has not covered itself in glory. Once again it has shown weakness and procrastination.”
The website puts total EU arms export licences issued from 2014-20 at £1.2billion (€1.495billion).
It says arms export licences were still issued by France and Austria as recently as 2020.
French exports have included thermal imaging cameras for Russian tanks as well as infrared detectors for fighter jets and combat helicopters, according to investigative news organisation Disclose.
Mr Daubney said: “[The EU] wanted to run a European army. They’ve been proven they are arming the enemies of Europe, in the form of Putin.
“They talk about Ukraine qualifying for EU membership, and yet they are sending arms to a tyrant who invaded Ukraine.
“Would I trust them to run a European army? I wouldn’t trust them to run a bath.
“Furthermore, since 2014, 1.5 billion euros worth of arms have been sold to Russia by the European Union and yet they criticise Britain all the time. And yet our exports to Russia in the same period were zero pounds.
“So clearly, we’re leading the way, the European Union is once again lagging far behind. They’re a disgrace.”