Germany still exporting deadly weapon components to Russia – expert

Germany is still exporting components for Russian missiles and other weapons used to attack Ukraine, more than 18 months since Vladimir Putin’s disastrous invasion, a Ukrainian MP has warned.

And businesses in other nations – including the UK – are continuing to exploit “loopholes” to export goods to Russia, warned Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, who is the former executive director of Transparency International Ukraine.

In the week that European leaders gathered at Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, to reaffirm support for Ukraine, Mr Yurchyshyn said many firms had worked out ways to bypass international sanctions.

He said: “The biggest problem is that many dual-use items have been exported to Russia. For example, different chip components that can be used either for civilian, or military goals.

“Russians use these chips for their navigation during the war, that helps them to reach Ukrainian objects by their missiles correctly. American, Swiss and German companies still export chip components to Russia.”

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With specific reference to Berlin, he added: “The point is that German authorities recognise that this problem exists.

“German companies can trade with Russia via other countries and international markets (for instance, Amazon).

“The best scenario for us is to sanction third countries to stop this export. But we are not sure that the German government is ready for these decisions.”

Germany, traditionally seen as the economic powerhouse of the European Union, had a responsibility to set an example, Mr Yurchyshyn pointed out.

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However, he said: “Ukrainian trust in Germany has decreased during the full-scale war. Since, on the one hand, the German government helps us with armour, tanks, missiles etc.

“But on the other hand, we’ve got 5000 helmets from Germany before February 24 in spite of the heavy weapons that we asked for. Furthermore, Germany supported the idea of North Stream-2 construction after Crimea and some parts of Donbas were occupied in 2014.

“Nevertheless, we have an intention to be close partners with Germany. Then, we hope the German power stays a responsible leader of the EU and will be a vivid example for other states in terms of sanctions.”

Germany was far from the only nation implicated, Mr Yurchyshyn added, as he highlighted Austria and Switzerland as other examples of nations where companies were dealing with Russia.

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He said: “Unfortunately, Swiss chips are an integral part of the Russian navigation system “Glonass”. Although Switzerland is well-known for its neutral position for any war, we are convinced that they should stop any trading that can be exported to Russia.

“Speaking about Austria, we are very grateful for all the sanctions against Russia. But the problem is that Austrian companies and businessmen are still tightly connected with Russians.”

The Austrian capital, Vienna, is still the location of a large Soviet-era war memorial, and Mr Yurchyshyn said many rich Russians “still prefer to spend time in Austria because they have their real estate and different businesses there”.

He added: “We are convinced that the Austrian government should be very strict for that because big Russian investors usually have connections with the Kremlin.”

Nor was Britain exempt from Mr Yurchyshyn’s criticism.

He said: “Great Britain showcased to the world that they totally support Ukraine and will do it until we win in this war.

“We are very grateful for all the tanks, armoured vehicles, NLAW, drones etc and diplomatic support from Great Britain.

“But some British companies still cooperate with Russians. Although the government decreased the quantity of exports to Russia, there are still some loopholes.”

A report in The Times in July claimed the Government did not currently prohibit local manufacturers from exporting necessary equipment for the mining industry and the extraction of fossil fuels to Russia.

Mr Yurchyshyn commented: “Of course, we don’t want to see that some Russian industries are developing, whereas our economy gets destroyed because of the Russian missiles.”

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