The United States and Europe have imposed sanctions on Russia to prevent it from obtaining technology for its military. However, chips and other electronic components, critical to the development of weapons, have been sold to Russia through countries such as Armenia, Kazakhstan and China, NYT found.
Despite the trade restrictions, Russia’s chip imports are increasing. The illicit trade in chips is difficult to police given the ubiquity of semiconductors. The Russian military appears to have been relying on a large stockpile of electronics and weaponry it accumulated before the invasion of Ukraine.
A report by Conflict Armament Research revealed the first known example of Russia making weapons with chips manufactured after the invasion began. The parent company of the firm that designed the drone, the Kalashnikov Group, has challenged the West’s technology restrictions. US and European officials are sharing intelligence to minimize the leakage of such items to Russia, but the challenge remains to prevent technology goods from winding up in Russian missiles.