War in Ukraine: Hundreds of Western electronic components found in Russian weapons

    Carcass of a missile shot down before reaching a thermal power plant on the left bank of kyiv (Ukraine), on the morning of December 16, 2022.

    The Russian missiles which kill the Ukrainians or destroy their infrastructures reach their targets thanks to electronic chips from the Franco-Italian STMicroelectronics or the American Intel. The Yermak-McFaul group, which brings together Ukrainian and American experts responsible for assessing the sanctions against Russia, is due to publish a report in the coming days, consulted by The worldshowing how Moscow manages to get around the restrictions.

    The report’s authors dissected artillery pieces, armored vehicles, drones and missiles recovered in Ukraine to trace the origin of their components. “Missiles that don’t explode or fall in water are a treasure trove of information,” explains Vladyslav Vlasiuk, the adviser to the Ukrainian presidency in charge of sanctions.

    Of the 58 military equipment analyzed, 1057 components were identified, including a majority of electronic chips and microprocessors, manufactured by 155 foreign companies. Two thirds of them are American but the French Thales, Souriau or STMicroelectronics manufacture some of the components found, without the report mentioning which ones exactly.

    Sudden increase in imports

    In “one of the missiles that hit Kryvy Rih today, around 50 of its components – mostly microelectronics – were produced in other countries,” warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, June 13, after the explosion of a Russian missile which left 12 dead and 38 injured in this city in the east of the country. The next day he regretted, on Twitter, that Russia had the “ability to source critical components for missile production from companies around the world, including some partner nations” before recalling that the world “had all the tools necessary to cut off these supplies”.

    Despite the sanctions, a rain of missiles and drones continues to rain down on Ukraine. In a document sent Tuesday, June 13 to the G7 countries, that The world obtained, the Ukrainian presidency foresees a doubling of the Russian production of missiles, from 512 in 2022 to 1061 in 2023, thanks, in particular, to the supply of Western electronic chips.

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    To understand how so many foreign electronic components find their way to Russia, the report’s authors scrutinized Russian foreign trade statistics. Their imports of these so-called “essential” components spiked sharply in the last quarter of 2021, a few months before the start of the invasion of Ukraine, before collapsing when the sanctions were imposed, and then recovering quickly. from May or the end of 2022.

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