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Russia Sources Sanctions-Busting $2.6B in Tech Since Invading Ukraine – Reuters

Sergei Starostin / pexels

Russia has sourced at least $2.6 billion in computer components and electronics in the months since falling under Western tech sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing purchased Russian customs records.

Semiconductors and other technology arrived in Russia between April and Oct. 31 via Hong Kong and Turkey — which have not joined U.S. and EU export restrictions — as well as EU member Estonia.

U.S. companies like Intel, AMD and Texas Instruments accounted for at least $777 million of the imported products.

Intel, AMD and Texas Instruments said they have not shipped products to Russia in compliance with sanctions and export controls.

Reuters reported this summer that Western chips had been found inside Russian missiles and weapons systems collected from the battlefield in Ukraine.

The U.S. Commerce Department estimates Russia’s access to semiconductors has been slashed by nearly 70% since the start of the invasion. 

However, Reuters said its review of the purchased customs records from three commercial providers showed the declared value of semiconductor imports has “risen sharply” since Moscow invaded Ukraine.

The data showed “an active roster of substitute players ready to replace” companies restricted from exporting sensitive high-tech components to Russia, Reuters said.

“It is no surprise that Russia is working hard to circumvent controls,” a Commerce Department spokesperson told the news agency.

The European Commission said it “takes EU circumvention very seriously, as it is a practice that can undermine the effectiveness of EU sanctions.”

The Kremlin and Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Reuters carried out the investigative report with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a London-based defense think tank.

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