Western technology continues to flow to Russia despite sanctions: report
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Russia has continued to receive computer parts from US technology companies despite Western sanctions, helping to fuel its military’s equipment in the country’s war with Ukraine.
“It’s quite simple… Without these US chips, Russian missiles and most Russian weapons would not work,” a senior Ukrainian official told Reuters, which reviewed several cases of US technology in Russian weapons used in Ukraine.
In one example, the Ukrainian military found several computer chips inside an unexploded Russian 9M727 cruise missile, according to the report. Many of these chips and signal processors were branded with the names of American chipmakers such as Texas Instruments, Altera, Xilinx, and Intel-owned Maxim Integrated Products.
The chips were found in the weapons despite the US and other allies banning high-tech exports to Russia in an attempt to weaken its military industry, and technology companies soon announced they had halted shipments to Russia. But shipments to Russia have not stopped, the report said, pointing to “thousands of shipments” to Russia. While the problem was mostly limited to unauthorized suppliers, the report found instances of shipments from the manufacturers themselves.
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Reuters alerted AMD, Analog Devices, Infineon, Intel and Texas Instruments that some of these shipments arrived after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. AMD, Analog Devices and Infineon responded that they have launched internal investigations. Infineon and Texas Instruments told Reuters their shipments were already destined for Russia before the invasion, while Intel acknowledged the company’s internal shipments were sent before it cut off its Russian operations in April.
In a statement to Reuters, Infineon said it was “deeply concerned if our products are used for purposes for which they were not designed,” while Intel said it “does not support or tolerate our products being used to violate human rights”.
Russia relies heavily on Western electronics for its most advanced weapons systems, and Ukrainian authorities say Russian troops have fired more than 3,650 guided missiles and rockets at Ukrainian targets since the start of the war.
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A spokesman for the US Commerce Department told Reuters that the US remains confident that export restrictions imposed on Russia will work, arguing that Russia’s ability to launch such weapons will diminish as current stockpiles are reduced.
“The powerful export controls put in place by the US and 37 allies and partners are severely affecting Russia’s access to the goods and technologies it needs to sustain its military aggression, including semiconductors,” the spokesman said. “As time goes on and their reserves continue to decline, our controls will be even tougher.”