Fears that Russia’s modern weaponry is largely dependent on parts produced in the UK and other Western countries have prompted the British government to launch an investigation into any “credible allegation” that its arms embargo against Russia would have been compromised.
According to the Daily Telegraph, a Whitehall investigation is underway following a report by the Royal United Services Institute think tank which highlighted the fact that Russian weaponry used in Ukraine is dependent on imports of sophisticated electronics.
As experts scoured the abandoned equipment of Russian forces in Ukraine, they reportedly discovered high-tech British parts for jamming devices and military radios.
Experts cited as an example the use of UK-made high-frequency transistors in the Russian Borisoglebsk-2 jamming system. The system also had components made in the United States, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.
Researchers from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) military think tank have found that the Kremlin acquires Western components through shell companies, middlemen and blackmail. The manufacturers seem to have no idea of the final destination of their products.
Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the UK imposed an arms embargo on the country. There were indications that some export licenses were still issued.
However, after the invasion of Ukraine, the UK also prohibited the direct transfer to Russia of dual-use components, which can be used for civilian or military purposes.
The Rusi report, titled “Operation Z: The Death Throes of an Imperial Delusion”, did not specify when the components in question were likely to have been exported. Moreover, there was no indication that the producers had committed any wrongdoing.
However, it has raised concerns that parts made in the UK could still end up in Russia.
He also noted that in the wake of Western economic sanctions, Moscow would become increasingly dependent on smuggling components to keep its planes, missiles and other high-tech weapons operational.
The UK’s Department for International Trade is currently investigating ways to prevent British-made parts from being used by the Russian war machine.
A government spokesman said: “We have introduced the largest and toughest economic sanctions Russia has ever faced, to help cripple Putin’s war machine, including sanctioning key industry organizations. defense and prohibiting the export of critical technologies.
The UK has one of the strongest and most transparent export control regimes in the world. We take all credible allegations of export control violations seriously and will take further action if necessary. »
Involvement of India and China
RUSI research also suggested that Russia relies on Western electronics to manufacture 9M727 cruise missiles, Kh-101 cruise missiles, 9M949 300mm guided rockets, TOR-M2 air defense systems and Aqueduct radios, this was reported by EurAsian Times.
In addition to the UK, technology from the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Israel is mentioned in the report. According to the research, “almost all of Russia’s modern military hardware depends on a complex economy” acquired from Western countries.
The researchers revealed that while most of the technology is ostensibly transferred to countries like India for use in other industries, it is ultimately sold to Russia for military use.
Besides India, China’s involvement in sending British technology to Russia for military purposes has also flown under the radar.
The report explains how Indian and Chinese companies acted as intermediaries. It allows the Kremlin to buy UK-made electronic chips and switchboards, which are crucial components of Russian cruise missiles.
The technology enters Russia through a legal loophole that allows “material to be brought into Russia without the permission of the relevant intellectual property owner”.
Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds, the authors of the Rusi report, warned that Russia “has put in place mechanisms to launder these articles via third countries”. They too suggested that India should be subject to specific restrictions.
“Restricting access therefore probably means preventing the export to countries like India of goods that are in some cases used for civilian purposes,” the authors added.
They also noted: “Additionally, there are a myriad of companies based around the world, including in the Czech Republic, Serbia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, India and China, which will take considerable risks to meet Russian supply needs”.
India and China are the main buyers of Russian military equipment, and their close ties with Moscow have prevented them from publicly denouncing Russian military activities in Ukraine.
As China renewed the alliance during the war, India took a more independent stance and decided to acquire Russian oil at low prices. As a result, the West has expressed its displeasure with these policy decisions.