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Arms for the Russian Federation. Sanctions against Kremlin aides

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Russia has been producing weapons and ammunition faster in the past year than at any time in its modern history.

Despite Western sanctions, Russia is only increasing its production of weapons for the war against Ukraine. Over the past year, Russia has produced weapons and ammunition faster than at any time in its modern history, including the Cold War era, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. In this regard, the US Treasury Department on May 1 announced sanctions against nearly 200 individuals and entities that contribute to Russia’s military-industrial complex and help it evade the restrictions already imposed.

Chinese help

China has become the main country supporting the Russian military-industrial complex, writes The Economist magazine, analyzing research data from the American Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

For example, by early 2024, Russia’s monthly capacity to produce long-range missiles will likely more than double since the start of the invasion of Ukraine. This growth is made possible by foreign suppliers, from whom Russia receives scarce parts, electronics and equipment needed to make weapons.

Such goods often enter the Russian Federation through a complex network of shell companies, so identifying and separating these flows is quite difficult. However, a CSIS study found that Russia receives a large portion of its defense imports from China.

In particular, Chinese companies supplied Russia with semiconductors, which are a critical component for the creation of various weapons systems. They also supplied navigational equipment, jet aircraft parts, and other products such as ball bearings, used in the manufacture of artillery and other equipment.

Transaction data suggest that Russia also imports, mainly from China, high-precision manufacturing equipment, in particular computer numerical control (CNC) equipment, that is, high-tech programmable manufacturing machines.

Between March and July 2023, more than 10,000 transactions were recorded monthly between Russia and China, which included such equipment (and not only this). And because each transaction can contain multiple items, the actual number of units issued is likely to be higher, The Economist suggests.

The influx of supplies from China took place in March 2023, when Xi Jinping met with Putin in Moscow. Official Beijing said it took a neutral position in the war and did not supply weapons to either side. However, such exports to Russia prove that the PRC is making an enormous contribution to the Kremlin’s military machine.

Who else is helping?

In addition to trade with China and despite significant export restrictions, by 2023 Russia has acquired many Western-made components for its defense industry. For example, goods from France, Germany and Japan enter Russia through third countries such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, which do not participate in Western sanctions. A study by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) published in December found that Compel, one of Russia’s leading microelectronics distributors, imports large volumes of Western microelectronics not only through Hong Kong, but also in Germany.

US response

Antony Blinken criticized China for the fact that China is the main investor in the Russian military-industrial complex.

“Russia receives large supplies of machine tools, microelectronics, and optics, mainly from China. 70% of machine tools, 90% of microelectronics come from China. These are dual-use goods, but we know very well where so many of them go,” Blinken said.

He noted that such assistance to the aggressor country from China creates two problems at once: it allows Russia to continue the war against Ukraine and contributes to the restoration of Russia’s military-industrial base.

“So at the same time that Russia is seeking better relations with European countries, it is also fueling the biggest challenge to European security since the end of the Cold War. And as I told my Chinese colleagues, no you can have both,” the American diplomat emphasized.

The latest round of US sanctions targets Russia’s military industrial base and its chemical and biological weapons programs, as well as individuals and entities in third countries that help Moscow buy of parts for the production of weapons or defense.

Among other things, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on nearly 60 people from Azerbaijan, Belgium, China, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, allowing Moscow to buy much-needed technology and equipment from abroad.

More than 100 organizations on the updated sanctions list work or have worked in the technology, defense, manufacturing and transport sectors of the Russian economy.

Another block of American sanctions is directed against the main Russian importers of cotton pulp, nitrocellulose and its main components, as well as two suppliers of these goods from China.

In coordination with the US Treasury Department, the State Department sanctioned more than 80 entities and individuals engaged in evading sanctions against Russia or related to Russia’s chemical and biological weapons programs and industrial bases. defense of Russia.

Source: korrespondent

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