Russia Is Importing Western Weapons Technology, Bypassing Sanctions

Western technology goods are winding up in Russian missiles, raising questions about the efficacy of sanctions.

Late last month, American and European Union officials traded information on millions of dollars’ worth of banned technology that was slipping through the cracks of their defenses and into Russian territory.

Senior tax and trade officials noted a surge in chips and other electronic components being sold to Russia through Armenia, Kazakhstan and other countries, according to slides from the March 24 meeting obtained by The New York Times. And they shared information on the flow of eight particularly sensitive categories of chips and other electronic devices that they have deemed as critical to the development of weapons, including Russian cruise missiles that have struck Ukraine.

As Ukraine tries to repel Russia from its territory, the United States and its allies have been fighting a parallel battle to keep the chips needed for weapons systems, drones and tanks out of Russian hands.

But denying Russia access to chips has been a challenge, and the United States and Europe have not made a clear victory. While Russia’s ability to manufacture weaponry has been diminished because of Western sanctions adopted more than a year ago, the country is still gaining circuitous access to many electronic components.



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