Russia has accumulated Western microchips and semiconductors despite sanctions to improve its contemporary technical military machine.
Despite restrictions that make direct sales to Russia difficult, Moscow is persistently using backdoor deals involving nations like China to acquire Western technology.
Russia imported semiconductor technology worth $2.5 billion, up from $1.8 billion in 2021.
The operation against Ukraine requires semiconductors and microchips to produce drones, missiles, armored vehicles, and communications.
For the KSE Institute, Ribakova co-authored research in June that assessed 58 pieces of Russian equipment retrieved from various battlegrounds in Ukraine. Half of the 1,057 non-Korean components discovered by KSE were semiconductors or microchips.
According to KSE, an analytical unit at the Kyiv School of Economics, 89 of the 155 companies that made the components were in the United States.
For now, Russia can still import all the necessary Western-produced critical components for its military. According to reports, the fact that not all technologies are susceptible to penalties just adds to the complexity of the issue. Some parts are designated as “dual-use,” meaning they may be used in civilian or military settings.
Sam Bennett, an advisor at the Center for Naval Analyses, said it is impossible to prevent purely civilian microelectronics from crossing borders and participating in global commerce. And this is being used by Russian businesses, the Russian military, and Russian intelligence.
It’s been reported that by 2022, China and Hong Kong will have imported more than 87% of the world’s semiconductors, making them Russia’s most beneficent partner in evading sanctions.
In truth, more than half of those technologies didn’t even originate in China; they just flowed through the nation en route to Russia and, apparently, to the battlegrounds in Ukraine.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, according to Olena Yurchenko, an advisor at Ukraine’s Economic Security Council, who spoke to CNBC on behalf of the Ukrainian government.