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“NYT”: Russia imports large quantities of chips via Armenia and Kazakhstan

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Trade institutions in the United States and the European Union have seen a sharp increase in the number of chips and other electronic components shipped to Russia, primarily via Armenia, Kazakhstan and several other countries, the New York Times reported.

These technologies are considered critical to the development of weapons, including the Russian cruise missiles that they use Russia shoots Ukraine.

Although Russia’s weapons-producing capacity has been reduced due to Western sanctions imposed more than a year ago, Moscow still gains access to many electronic components in a roundabout way.

US trade officials argue that the broad sanctions they imposed on Russia in cooperation with 38 other governments have severely damaged Russia’s military capabilities and increased the cost of purchasing the parts it needs.

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They argue that the direct sale of chips to Russia from USA and allied countries has dropped to zero, and Russia has already exhausted most of its stockpile of precision weapons, so it has been forced to replace them with lower quality or counterfeit parts that make its weapons less accurate.

Russia “still receives quite a substantial amount” of chips

According to the “NYT”, the Americans did everything they could to prevent Russia from producing precision weapons and imposed sanctions on dozens of companies and organizations in Russia, Iranchina, Canada and other countries, have also extended their trade restrictions to other chip-containing products, such as toasters, hair dryers and microwave ovens, and have placed great emphasis on prosecuting those trying to illegally obtain secret technology.

Russia imports chips from other countriesShutterstock

However, trade data shows that other countries have stepped in, providing Russia with much of what it needs. It turns out that after a sharp slump at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian imports of chips have recovered, especially from China, which supplies Moscow with advanced electronics mainly through Armenia and Kazakhstan.

Sarah V. Stewart, head of the Silverado Policy Accelerator think tank that is investigating the case, said that while export controls imposed on Russia have disrupted pre-existing supply chains, Russia “still receives quite a substantial amount” of the chips. – This is a supply chain that is very, very large, very complex and not necessarily transparent. Chips are really ubiquitous, Stewart said.

The fight against chip trading

The International Semiconductor Industry Association, which represents major chip companies, said it is working with the U.S. government and other countries to combat the illegal trade in chips, but controlling their flow is extremely difficult.

“We have strict protocols to remove bad actors from our supply chains, but with approximately one trillion chips sold worldwide each year, it’s not as simple as flipping a switch,” the association wrote in a statement.

The “NYT” recalls that the European Council announced on February 25 its tenth package of sanctions against Russia, which included “further bans on exports of critical technologies and industrial goods such as electronics, specialty vehicles, machine parts, spare parts for trucks and jet engines, and also goods for the construction sector that can be directed to the Russian military.

Main photo source: Reuters Archive

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