by Miceál O’Hurley
KYIV — Research by the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (NAKO) and the International Partnership for Human Rights has concluded that components manufactured and sold in the West that are vital to Russian weapons production, repair and use continue to flow to Russia despite international sanctions. The dual-use components, including advanced design chips, are manufactured in the West then sold through a series of re-sellers and suppliers until they reach the Russian Federation for use in their weapons systems.
Diplomacy in Ireland – European Diplomat previously reported on the issue of Russia’s ease-of-access to dual-use Western technology when reporting on Ireland’s derogation from sanctions that allowed ten, Boeing 777-300s to be sold to Russia’s Aeroflot despite sanctions designed to stop such sales. That report cited how in “November 2022, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security instigated an investigation to determine how U.S., Japanese, German and Israeli technology ended-up in Iranian drones being used to attack civilians and critical infrastructure in Ukraine.”
The NAKO/IPHR report cites four, key, Russian weapons and weapons systems employed in carrying out war crimes and suspected war crimes that rely on the Western-made technology studied. These war crimes and suspected war crimes have included attacks on critical civilian infrastructure, residential buildings and power generation facilities leaving hundreds of civilians dead and wounded. Owing to attacks on power generation facilities millions of Ukrainians have been left without power, heat or water throughout the long winter causing cascading increases in sickness, hospitalisations and early mortality especially among the children and the elderly.
Sanctions regimes have been levied against the Russian Federation by the United Nations, European Union and several other nations following the 2014 invasion of Ukraine and attempt to annex Crimea. The sanctions were expanded over time and following the 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine the regimes have continued to be imposed and refined. However, the report released by NAKO/IPHR concludes that gaps remain in implementation. Researchers assert “western-made components continue to reach Russia long after the invasion raises moral and ethical concerns for the companies involved as well as questions about their due diligence and risk assessment processes.”
According to the report:
Trade data revealed that three western technology companies – two of which make dual-use components being sought by Russia to manufacture and repair its military equipment, and one of which makes a variety of a specific component needed by the Russian military – continue to export thousands of components worth millions of dollars to Russia as recently as in November 2022. Trade data shows that components manufactured by Harting, Trimble, and TE Connectivity continue to be imported by Russia, either through official distributors for the companies, or third countries such as Hong Kong and Türkiye.
The most startling learning from the research into the trade data used in the study by NAKO are indications that the Russian Kalibr cruise missile includes components produced by 11 foreign companies, including 9 American ones, as well as Swiss and Taiwanese ones. Details, including selected case studies on Western components in Russia’s weapons and military equipment are expected to be made public by NAKO.
According to a NAKO/IPHR conclusion, four-key Russian weapons and weapons systems used to carry-out suspected war crimes are, to varying degrees, reliant on Western-made components. Further conclusions in the report cite failings in regulations and enforcement that allow Russia to access Western-made dual-use technology as evidenced by Russia continuing to be able to purchase components freely on the open market to support their weapons production and maintenance operations.
Recommendations in the report aimed at policy makers and businesses involved in the manufacturing and distribution of dual-use technology include:
- Recognise and publicly acknowledge the existence of the problem
- Carry out a thorough and holistic review of existing sanction and export control measures
- Enhance due diligence, ‘know your customer’, and end-user surveillance