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Media: Italy’s weapon manufacturer Beretta uses loophole to send guns, ammo to Russia

Major Italian firearms manufacturers, including Beretta, continue funneling rifles, pistols, and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition into Russia, exploiting sanctions loopholes nearly a decade after EU restrictions banned small arms sales following the 2014 invasion of Ukraine.
Italian weapon manufacturer Beretta supplies guns and ammo to Russia despite sanctions. Photo: The Insider
Media: Italy’s weapon manufacturer Beretta uses loophole to send guns, ammo to Russia

A recent investigation by The Insider and IrpiMedia reveals Beretta maintains majority ownership in Russian distributor Russkiy Orel, which works hand-in-hand with a network of firms tied to influential arms dealer Mikhail Khubutia to import Italian, Finnish, German, and other European weapons. According to the report, over 835,000 rounds and 5,900 rifles and pistols have entered Russia through these gray channels just since the beginning of the 2022 invasion. Russia surpassing the weapon import sanctions can drastically strengthen its position in its war against Ukraine.

The probe documents a Moscow arms show displaying a wide array of rifles from Sako, Tikka, Blaser and other brands already prohibited under EU sanctions. It spotlights a worrying relationship between Beretta’s Benelli subsidiary and Kalashnikov Concern, including an executive named Eduard Ioffe with concerning ties to a Putin ally overseeing potential collaboration. According to the report, “The frequency of his visits to the Italian workshop had left him exhausted,” highlighting the depth of cooperation.

Meanwhile, competitor Marocchi still lists Russian partner Italruzhyo on its website. Over 275 Marocchi hunting rifles arrived in Russia last year through Italruzhyo and linked companies working intimately with Marocchi over the past decade to distribute Italian guns despite growing sanctions.

Russian importers do not feel the lack of products of the holding so much that in September 2023, the arms house “Orel” announced a campaign with a 20 percent discount on binoculars and scopes Steiner. According to the investigation, the weapons have also been used in Russian sports competitions and openly displayed at exhibitions.

“The dealership network of Kolchuga’s partners includes over a hundred firearms and hunting stores across Russia, from Sochi on the Black Sea coast to Yakutsk in the Far East,” the investigation finds. Yet somehow, Russia still has access to firepower that should remain locked behind EU sanctions as the war passes two years since its onset.

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