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11 March 2024

Use of US technology in Russian weapons

Prepared by: Elina Ribakova
Editors and co-authors:

Elina Ribakova, Director of the International Affairs Program and Vice President for Foreign Policy at the Kyiv School of Economics, testified at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing on ‘The U.S. Technology Fueling Russia’s War in Ukraine.’ She provided evidence and policy recommendations to disrupt the flow of critical components to Russia.

Russia is heavily dependent on critical components for its weaponry. Ukraine’s National Agency for Corruption Prevention (NACP) has documented nearly 2,800 parts found in Russian weapons on the battlefield, with 95% from coalition countries and over 70% from the U.S. “Despite Russia’s diversification efforts, its military overwhelmingly relies on critical components from the U.S. and coalition countries, providing leverage through export controls,” says Elina Ribakova.

Increased action and vigilance are essential as Russia continues to import significant amounts of high-priority battlefield equipment. Imports reached $8.77 bn in the first ten months of 2023 – only a 10% decline compared to the pre-sanctions period, according to a study by KSE Institute and the International Working Group on Russian Sanctions.

More effective export controls will require improved corporate responsibility, strengthening the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), using financial sanctions, targeting third-country intermediaries, closing export controls loopholes, and improving multilateral cooperation. Addressing export control evasion is crucial for containing Russian aggression and for the credibility of our economic statecraft.

Elina Ribakova offered 6 policy recommendations for congressional consideration on limiting Russia’s access to critical components:

• strengthen institutions and increase funding for U.S. export control agencies;

• bolster corporate responsibility, engage the private sector and incentivise compliance;

• leverage the role of our financial industry in global trade for better export controls enforcement;

• close remaining loopholes in the export controls regime, harmonize restrictions across coalition jurisdictions and establish clear licensing procedures;

• address third-country circumvention networks and intermediary involvement in China, Turkey, and the UAE;

• improve multilateral cooperation and encourage allies to reform against bad actors will be key going forward.

Watch the full hearing and read Elina Ribakova’s testimony here: https://cutt.ly/DwNUpiMJ


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