BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand extradited suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to the United States to face terrorism charges Tuesday, ending a two-year wrangle between the two old Cold War foes. The 43-year-old former Soviet air force officer, dubbed the Merchant of Death, was flown out of Bangkok on a small, chartered US aircraft shortly after Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his cabinet cleared the extradition. Bout had been fighting extradition since his March 2008 arrest in Bangkok in a US-led sting operation. Russias Foreign Ministry said earlier Bout faced a politically motivated extradition that could undermine strengthening US-Russian ties and undo the White Houses efforts to reset relations. In a surprise move, the Thai cabinet officially acknowledged the US extradition request, clearing the last hurdle for Bouts departure to face trial in a US court. Bout faces US accusations of trafficking arms since the 1990s to dictators and conflict zones in Africa, South America and the Middle East. Dozens of policemen and masked commandos guarded the entrance of Bangkoks maximum-security Bangkw-ang prison where Bout had been detained. He was taken from prison in a speeding van with darkened windows, escorted by several security vehicles. A court had cleared the way for Bouts extradition but the executive branch could have blocked it if it had been deemed detrimental to foreign relations or harmful to the individuals involved. The cabinet acknowledges the appeal courts judgment that the case was not a political one so we did not oppose his extradition, Deputy Prime Minister Trirong Suwannakhiri told Reuters. Bouts lawyer said he had been informed his client had been sent to the United States and he would continue to fight the case. The cabinets decision was a violation of due process as a request for a retrial for Bout was pending, he said. Bout, who has long evaded U.N. and US sanctions aimed at blocking his finances and restricting his travels, had called the charges against him an American fantasy, insisting he was an innocent businessman. A top security Thai official said he doubted Bouts extradition would damage relations with Russia. Its a political dilemma for Thailand but we have to stick to due court process, said Thawil Pliensee, secretary-general of the National Security Council. I think Russia will understand. There was no immediate reaction from Russia. A US embassy spokesman declined to comment. Bout, an inspiration for the Hollywood movie, Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage, had been held in prison since his arrest at a luxury Bangkok hotel in a joint US-Thai sting operation in which agents posed as arms buyers for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The US classifies the Colombian group as a terrorist organization.