Russia doubles nitrocellulose imports for production of explosives with Western help - media

Russia doubles nitrocellulose imports for production of explosives with Western help - media

Russia has boosted its imports of an explosive compound critical to the production of artillery ammunition, including from companies based in the U.S. and other Western countries and allies, despite international sanctions meant to choke Moscow’s wartime production, trade data showed.

That’s according to WSJ, Ukrinformr reports.

Russian imports of nitrocellulose critical to gunpowder and rocket propellant production, skyrocketed 70% in 2022 and by the middle ot 2023 amounted to 3,039 tons, nearly double the level of 2021.

Meanwhile, defense firms worldwide were struggling to get nitrocellulose amid a shortage as only a few countries produce nitrocellulose, since its primary use is in munitions and subject to international trade restrictions.

Moscow’s ability to source the important component, produced in the U.S, Germany, and Taiwan, has played a major role in its war against Ukraine, according to U.S. officials and analysts.

After sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union affected purchases for the Russian army, China increased its nitrocellulose exports. However, the main channel for supplying this substance to Russia was the Turkish-based company Noy İç Ve Diş Ti̇caret. Most of this company's supplies went to Russian government contractors.

Several Western companies, including Germany's International Flavors & Fragrances, Hagedorn-NC, and Taiwan's TNC Industrial, were linked to these supplies through Noy İç Ve Diş Ti̇caret. Representatives from these companies stated that they did not supply nitrocellulose for military purposes.

Russia keeps purchasing nitrocellulose against the backdrop of a global shortage, which is slowing down the production of artillery shells for NATO Allies.

Oleksandr Danylyuk, with the Center of Defense Reforms, a Kyiv-based security think tank that has studied Russian nitrocellulose imports, said Russia’s military is driving them.

“All of this demand is either for direct production of projectiles or substitution of nitrocellulose which was originally produced by Russian factories,” said Danylyuk, a former defense and intelligence adviser to the Ukrainian government.

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

European sanctions and the U.S. promise to impose sanctions against banks facilitating the supply of nitrocellulose to Russia also affect the situation.

It should be recalled that, despite the sanctions already imposed, the Russian Federation has significantly increased the import of nitrocellulose since the outbreak of the full-scale war. The main suppliers of this component, used in ammunition and explosives, are based in Turjey  and China, customs data show, according to Guildhall.

Read also: Bundestag lawmaker calls for embargo on exports of ammunition components to Russia

Earlier, Vadim Skibitskyi, deputy chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate at the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, said that most of the elements required for the production of weaponry come to the Russian Federation from China.

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