Russia increased its imports (almost 2 times) of explosives ingredients needed for the production of artillery ammunition despite sanctions.

This includes companies based in the US and other Western countries, according to trade data.

Defense companies around the world have been scrambling to find ways to get nitrocellulose (the main ingredient in smokeless gunpowder) in the face of shortages, which has led to higher prices and difficulties in production. Nitrocellulose is produced by only a handful of countries as its main use is in ammunition and it is subject to international trade restrictions. Russia produces a small amount of nitrocellulose and uses it in artillery shells, so Moscow’s ability to obtain nitrocellulose abroad has played a crucial role in its war against Ukraine. “Nitrocellulose becomes an artillery shell… Most of the deaths on the battlefield and much of the collateral damage to civilians are caused by artillery,” explains the US Navy veteran with 30-year experience.

“All this demand goes directly to the production of shells, or to replace nitrocellulose, which was originally produced at Russian factories,” said Oleksandr Danyliuk, a researcher at the Center for Defense Reforms in Kyiv.

China has increased its supply of nitrocellulose to Russia after the introduction of US and EU sanctions to ban exports of any kind for Moscow’s military production. But companies from the US, Germany and Taiwan are also among the producers of nitrocellulose shipped to Russia over the past two years, according to trade data.

Russian importer Analytical Marketing Chemical Group has received about $700,000 worth of nitrocellulose from Taiwan over the past two years, according to its shipping data. According to the company’s website, the importer is a regular partner of the Kazan State Powder Plant, which produces a diverse range of weapons.

Before the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Turkey supplied less than 1% of Russia’s nitrocellulose imports. By the middle of last year one Turkish company, Noy İç Ve Diş Ti̇caret, was providing almost half of Russia’s imports of the products (according to Russian customs data, by the trade database ImportGenius and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal).

Taiwan’s TNC Industrial produced more than 500 tons of the compounds that Noy supplied to Russia last year. Hagedorn-NC, which has been producing nitrocellulose in the western lowlands of Germany for more than a century, has produced similar quantities to the amount supplied by Noy to Russia over the past two years.

Noy supplied nitrocellulose to Russia within three months after February 2022, and it was through Noy that a significant portion of the nitrocellulose produced by Western allies went to Russia.

Thus, despite the sanctions, Western companies are helping the Russian Federation to produce more shells that Russia use in its war against Ukraine.

“according to Mykhailo Makaruk, InformNapalm spokesman”

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