Sanctions against Russian defense companies have not interfered with Western supplies – equipment is still being imported by military contractors who have escaped sanctions lists. European businessmen have continued to sell goods to Russian firms that supply the country’s army with microchips for missiles, shells, fuses, tactical boots, body armor, engines for warships, and many other goods. The Insider confirmed supplies coming in from Germany, France, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, Estonia, Lithuania, Austria, and Poland.
Machine tools for manufacturing rockets
Moscow-based Stan LLC, a developer of modern numerically controlled machine tools, is part of the Rostec State Corporation. Despite Rostec being sanctioned, the German company Vansped Logistics (on behalf of Reißaus & Baumberg Maschinenbau GmbH) has already supplied Stan with technical equipment for foundries after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to the ImportGenius database, deliveries were made in July 2022.
Stan is a supplier to several Russian defense enterprises. In particular, the firm carried out the technical re-equipment of the 123rd Aviation Repair Plant (founded by the Ministry of Defense), which provides maintenance for Russian military aircraft. Stan is also a contractor for the Tactical Missiles Corporation: it supplied equipment for one of its subsidiaries, PO Strela, which makes anti-ship missiles.
According to a database for the analysis of government contracts, Stan LLC has been awareded 125 contracts to the total amount of more than 14 billion roubles ($173 million). The following state-run firms are among Stan’s clients:
- ODK-Kuznetsov PJSC, which produces engines for the Tu-160M strategic bombers;
- JSC Uralvagonzavod Research and Production Corporation – Russia’s only designer and manufacturer of tanks;
- JSC NIKIET – Russia’s leading firm for the decommissioning of nuclear submarines;
- Admiralty Shipyards JSC – Russia’s main center for the production of non-nuclear submarines;
- JSC “Marine Underwater Arms – Hydropribor” – a manufacturer of torpedoes and sea mines;
- Kometa Corporation (part of the Almaz-Antey Corporation) – a firm that develops, manufactures and exploits space controlling and scouting systems.
After the start of the full-scale invasion, Rostec’s first deputy general director Vladimir Artyakov stressed the importance of supplies from Stan in making Tu-160 strategic bombers (which are used to launch Kh-555 cruise missiles at Ukraine).
European suppliers are literally putting the boots on Russian soldiers. The Rostov-based company Donobuv directly states that it is a supplier to Russia’s Ministry of Defense on its website.
The company manufactures tactical boots, and fully converted its facilities towards the production of goods for the needs of the army in 2022. The boots’ tongues are even emblazoned with the letter Z – a symbol widely used as an indication of one’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The company’s production facilities are equipped with the latest high-quality German equipment,” Donobuv proudly reports in its catalog. As The Insider found out, Donobuv also supplies the armed forces with shoe glue (supplied by Jakob KECK Chemie GmbH) and leather (supplied by Salamander SPS GmbH & Co. KG) from Germany, while the soles are imported from Italy (Tacchificio Campliglionese).
The Italian and German firms continued to supply Donobuv after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Salamander also sold leather to another Defense Ministry contractor – Faraday (also spelt “Faradei”) – during the war.
Faraday’s soles also come from Italy, supplied by Suolificio Morrovallese. The company’s plastic pads are Italian too, manufactured by Formificio Milanese Team. Rivets are supplied by the Italian firms Hawai Italia and Sammi Export, insoles come from Italy-based Cunial Components, while solvents are supplied by the German Jakob KECK Chemie GmbH. Last summer, the military footwear manufacturer received 1.3 tons of cattle hide leather from Conceria Cervinia, based in Verona. Faraday’s other suppliers are Slovak companies Export-Import and MONETA SK spol.
NPP Class, a manufacturer of body armor for Russia’s army and security services, imported a cutting tool from Italy supplied by Minelli Carmello.
Microchips for GLONASS
JSC Information Satellite Systems (ISS) is one of the largest contractors of Russia’s Roscosmos state corporation. ISS executes orders for the development and production of spacecraft as part of the development of the GLONASS navigation and positioning system, as well as the Gonets-M satellite communications system in the interests of the Ministry of Defense.
GLONASS plays an important role in ensuring the combat capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces: the system is used in precision weapons, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and helps coordinate the operational control of Russia’s ground troops. In 2022, 9 spacecraft (including military and dual-purpose) produced by ISS were launched into orbit.
The firm has only been sanctioned by the US, meaning it can freely import switches from the EU that are later used in the microchips of the rockets’ onboard control systems. The switches are supplied by French company Radiall S.A.
Fuses for Grad and Smerch MLRS systems
The French company Marchante supplied the Russian arms company Kurganpribor with various technical products during the war.
Marchante was not deterred by the fact that Kurganpribor was an official partner of the Kalashnikov Corporation, and that the owner of the Russian company was Sergey Muratov, a senator in the Federation Council Russia’s upper house of parliament. Kurganpribor was blacklisted by the EU only in December – Muratov, however, has been under personal sanctions since last March. This did not interrupt his business relationship with Marchante.
Senator Muratov clearly supports Russia’s war against Ukraine. All the more so, as it benefits him personally: Kurganpribor is a manufacturer of fuses for tank rounds, ground and naval artillery, multiple rocket launchers (MLRS), and surface-to-air missile systems. In particular, his company supplies fuses and mechanisms for Smerch and Grad MLRS systems, which are often used in attacks on civilian targets.
Night vision devices
The St. Petersburg-based JSC Lomo manufactures optical systems for the Russian Navy, Space Forces and Ground Forces, such as the Mowgli-2 (“Maugli-2”) night vision goggles and the Mowgli-2M thermal imaging sight for man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). Russia’s high-precision (laser-guided) Krasnopol missiles are equipped with a semi-active homing head developed by Lomo. Production of the Krasnopol dramatically increased in 2022.
Lomo’s European supplier is the Estonian Marker Nordic Ou. The Tallinn-based firm has supplied the Russian defense contractor with fiber optic harnesses, industrial adhesives, and other goods.
Neural networks for Russia’s Ministry of Defense
The family of Rosсosmos head Yuri Borisov, who previously supervised the procurement of weapons as Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and a member of the country’s Defense Ministry, controls the defense contractor JSC NTC Modul. The Defense Ministry notably purchased a neural network accelerator developed by Modul. The Russian firm buys electronic equipment in Switzerland from E-tec Interconnect AG.
Engines for warships
Oligarchs Iskandar Makhmudov and Andrei Bokarev are also among the buyers of European mechanical – the pair owns JSC Kolomensky Zavod, which supplies the Ministry of Defense with diesel engines for warships. Parts for D500-type engines are sold to Kolomensky Zavod by Switzerland’s Sipavag AG, Lithuania’s D.Kudarauskienes Warehouse, and Austria’s Geislinger GmbH.
The enterprise produces engines for the Russian Navy based on the D500. Kolomensky Zavod orders screw springs from Heinrich Eibach GmbH in Germany, safety valves are supplied by HOERBIGER Wien GmbH from Austria, and D49-type engines from Poland’s Piston Ring Manufacturer Prima.