Russia will launch a comprehensive import substitution program in October focused on replacing Western components used in its defense industry, access to which was cut off last month by expanded U.S. and European sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, a senior defense industry official said Thursday.
The Russian government is already pursuing an import substitution program to rid itself of its dependency on Ukrainian defense exports — a legacy of the Soviet Union, which based large parts of its military industrial complex in Ukraine — after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko banned their delivery to Russia.
The latest round of Western sanctions against Russia's defense industry means that Russia must find a way to replace high-tech Western defense technologies needed for the state's ambitious $700 billion military rearmament program.
"In the fall, there will be another program for import substitution — [this one] from products from the U.S. and business enterprises of the European community," said Oleg Bochkaryov, deputy chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission, the governing body tasked with overseeing Russia's defense industry and ensuring that it fulfills state defense orders.
President Vladimir Putin will sign the U.S.-EU import substitution program into action in October, Bochkaryov said.