Russia has largely succeeded in finding ways to get around sanctions on the technology it needs to fight its war against Ukraine, and that means the West needs to make the trade curbs more effective if it is to restrict Vladimir Putin’s aggression.
That’s the main takeaway of an in-depth report by a U.S.-Ukrainian research team, which found that Russian imports of “battlefield goods” sanctioned by Washington and its allies totaled nearly $9 billion from January to October of last year — down just 10 percent from the level that preceded the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Russia needs microchips, sensors and navigation systems to replenish stockpiles of weapons like its Kinzhal hypersonic missiles or reconnaissance and attack drones — including Iranian-made Shahed drones — to keep up the furious aerial assault that it launched in December and has continued in the new year.
“If anything, Russia’s capacity to manufacture missiles and drones appears to have increased in 2023,” finds the joint study by the Yermak-McFaul International Working Group on Russian Sanctions and the KSE Institute, a think tank affiliated with the Kyiv School of Economics. [Continue reading…]