May 22, 2023

Evading Sanctions


Evading Sanctions
Skirting sanctions by traversing Kazakhstan. Alessio Soggetti (cc)

Western sanctions are not preventing Russia from supplying its military from abroad. Sensitive electronics are still getting through. Reporters with IStories, Der Spiegel, Vlast, and OCCRP have traced the supply chains through Kazakhstan.

The upshot of the article:

  • Trade statistics show large increases of drone and microelectronics imports to Kazakhstan since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. Kazakhstan’s exports of drones and microelectronics to Russia have also grown enormously.
  • Kazakh companies registered by Russians after the war are being used as intermediaries for these imports.
  • One company called Aspan Arba, meaning “Sky Chariot,” imported drones and sent them to a Russian company called “Sky Mechanics,” which sold them to pro-war organizations. The two companies have the same owner.
  • A German company owned by a Russian couple sent microchips to a Kazakh company, established shortly after the invasion, owned by their son. It then sent the chips to Russia.

Journalists behind the article are Maria Zholobova (IStories), Benjamin Bidder (Der Spiegel), Vyacheslav Abramov (Vlast), Ilya Lozovsky (OCCRP). The story is in Russian here.

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