American and Chinese companies continue to supply parts for Russian weapons: Joint Research Group Report

Like a building a car: many different companies make the parts that all come together to create the final product. In this case, some companies from the US and China are making parts that can be used in Russian weapons, even though they may not be selling them directly to the Russian military.

The main finding of a recent report by a US-Ukrainian research team. They investigated how well sanctions against Russia are working, specifically related to supplies for weapons. The report found that, despite sanctions, Russia has still been able to import components for weapons.

It is a well-known fact that in recent months Russia has significantly increased its production of long-range weapons, namely cruise missiles of various modifications, and is still looking for partners around the world who could help the Russian army with weapons and ammunition production for further use in the war against Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s recent meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un,clearly indicates that the Russians will seek and, most likely, have already received military assistance from existing communist states.

However, it includes not only arms and ammunition, but also some parts for the production of lethal weapons – missiles and drones.

At the same time, Politico, citing the American-Ukrainian research group Yermak-McFaul, published a detailed report, containing analytical conclusions about Russia’s circumvention of sanctions on the technologies it needs to wage war against Ukraine. 

According to the report, Russian missiles contain about 2,800 components that are not directly produced in Russia, and last year Western companies supplied Russia with about 48% of such parts, and China with 45%. American companies such as Intel, Analog Devices, AMD, Texas Instruments, IBM, Microchip Technology and Dell are the largest suppliers of parts for Russian weapons. Among Chinese companies, Huawei is the largest supplier of parts to the Russians. In addition, the Russians have also managed to obtain components via Turkey, China, the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong. 

Researchers propose ways to strengthen sanctions on Russia, including better tracking of goods by Western companies. They believe this could make the sanctions more impactful.

The report’s main recommendations are:

  • Bolstering corporate responsibility: Improved export controls need to be backed up with buy-in from the private sector. To create incentives for companies to set up compliance procedures, enforcement agencies need to investigate and fine those responsible for significant violations.
  • Closing export controls policy gaps: Coalition export controls should apply extraterritorially, as U.S. controls do under the Foreign Direct Product Rule (FDPR).
  • Targeting third-country circumvention: Trade quotas or bans should be imposed on specific goods or countries if diplomatic outreach fails to persuade third countries to desist from aiding sanctions circumvention.
  • Strengthening institutions and cooperation: Enforcement agencies need to be strengthened — especially in the EU, which lacks its own sanctions authority, leaving it to its member states to implement them.
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