Russia engages intelligence operatives to create sanctions evasion networks - RUSI

Russia engages intelligence operatives to create sanctions evasion networks - RUSI

Russia is expanding its procurement networks to evade sanctions imposed on the imports of electronics and other products in order to manufacture weapons and fuel the war in Ukraine, to this end actively using intelligence officers stationed abroad, as well as bribing foreign nationals.

This was stated by the representative of UK’s Royal United Services Institute, James Byrne, who spoke at a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, Ukrinform reports.

"Several recent cases in North America and Europe show that Russian procurement networks are active in our countries and in various other parts of the world," the expert noted.

He noted that during a recent investigation, RUSI, together with Dutch and German media, discovered illegal procurement networks operating in Germany, Lithuania, and Hong Kong and providing supplies to Russia.

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"Sometimes, these networks are operated by trained Russian intelligence officers and people working on their behalf. In other cases, it is trade for purely pecuniary purposes by people with few scruples," said Byrne.

He clarified that it is primarily about the illegal supply of microelectronics developed and manufactured in the West, which is used in the production of Russian drones, missiles, and other types of weapons. After all, even in the debris of Russian systems studied in Ukraine, recently manufactured advanced technologies were discovered, including those designed to facilitate artificial intelligence computations.

Read also: Ukrainian, British think tanks expose supplies of raw materials to Russia for ammo production

In addition, machine tools, ball bearings, carbon fiber and polymers, sensors, cameras, chemicals and many other kinds of goods are often purchased abroad and diverted to Russia’s military industrial complex to manufacture the weapons.

"As a result, the Kremlin’s military supply chains are forced to stretch across the globe, often starting in North America or Europe and ending in military factories across Russia," the expert noted.

As reported, RUSI released its first report on Russia's sanctions evasion in August 2022. It described in detail at least 450 different types of unique foreign-made components that the Russian Federation had illegally obtained for the production of 27 different types of weapons and military systems. Most of those components were produced by U.S.-based companies. This proved that Russia retained access to them through various schemes, despite the previously imposed U.S. sanctions.

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