August 8, 2022

As Russia’s navy continues to pound Ukraine with missiles and different deadly weapons, Western nations have responded partially by focusing on Russia’s protection trade with sanctions. The newest spherical got here on Tuesday, when america issued new sanctions on some arms makers and executives on the coronary heart of what it dubbed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “conflict machine.”

However a Reuters examination of corporations, executives and buyers underpinning Russia’s protection sector reveals a large variety of gamers have but to pay a value: Practically three dozen leaders of Russian weapons corporations and a minimum of 14 protection corporations haven’t been sanctioned by america, the European Union or the UK. As well as, sanctions on Russia’s arms makers and tycoons have been utilized inconsistently by these NATO allies, with some governments levying penalties and others not, the Reuters evaluate confirmed.

Among the many weapons moguls who haven’t been sanctioned by any of these three authorities is Alan Lushnikov, the biggest shareholder of Kalashnikov Concern JSC, the unique producer of the well-known AK-47 assault rifle. Lushnikov owns a 75% stake within the agency, in keeping with the newest enterprise information reviewed by Reuters.

The corporate itself was sanctioned by america in 2014, the 12 months Russia invaded and annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. The EU and UK leveled their very own sanctions in opposition to Kalashnikov Concern this 12 months.

The corporate accounts for 95% of Russia’s manufacturing of machine weapons, sniper rifles, pistols and different handheld firearms, and 98% of its handheld navy machine weapons, in keeping with its web site and most up-to-date annual report. Its weapons embody the AK-12 assault rifle, an up to date model of the AK-47, a few of which have been captured from Russian forces by Ukrainian troopers. The Kalashnikov Concern additionally produces missiles that may be fired from plane or on land.

A former Russian deputy transport minister, Lushnikov as soon as labored for commodities tycoon Gennady Timchenko, a longtime pal of Putin. The US sanctioned Timchenko in 2014 following Russia’s invasion of Crimea, naming him as a member of the Kremlin’s “inside circle.”

Neither Lushnikov, Timchenko or the Kalashnikov Concern responded to requests for remark.

It is the identical sample with Almaz-Antey Concern, a Moscow-based protection firm specializing in missiles and anti-aircraft techniques. The corporate has been sanctioned by america, EU and UK, however CEO Yan Novikov has not been punished.

Almaz-Antey’s web site shows the motto “Peaceable Sky is Our Occupation.” The corporate makes Kalibr missiles, which Russia’s Ministry of Protection has credited with destroying Ukrainian navy installations. In an announcement final month, the ministry mentioned Russia had fired long-range Kalibr missiles at a Ukrainian command put up close to the village of Shyroka Dacha in jap Ukraine, killing what the ministry claimed have been greater than 50 generals and officers of the Ukrainian navy.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm that declare.

Neither Almaz-Antey nor CEO Novikov responded to requests for remark.

In response to an inventory of questions submitted by Reuters about Western sanctions geared toward Russia, a Kremlin spokesperson mentioned “the consistency and logic of imposing sanctions, in addition to the legality of imposing such restrictions, is a query that must be put on to the international locations that launched them.”

The Reuters findings come as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has mentioned that present Western sanctions in opposition to Russia “are usually not sufficient” as Russian troops make features of their assault on Ukraine’s jap areas of Luhansk and Donetsk.

The Ukrainian navy has been outgunned by Russian artillery in locations reminiscent of the commercial metropolis of Sievierodonetsk, which it ceded to Russian forces final week after weeks of intense combating.

Putin has portrayed his navy’s assault on Ukraine as a “particular navy operation” geared toward demilitarizing and “denazifying” its democratic neighbor. On Tuesday, Russia’s Overseas Ministry introduced it will bar Jill Biden and Ashley Biden, the spouse and daughter of U.S. President Joe Biden, from coming into Russia indefinitely in what it mentioned was a response to “always increasing U.S. sanctions in opposition to Russian politicians and public figures.”

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U.S. Nationwide Safety advisor Jake Sullivan mentioned on Tuesday that Russia’s motion was not stunning as a result of “the Russian capability for these sorts of cynical strikes is principally bottomless.”

The Russian invasion has killed hundreds of Ukrainian troopers and civilians, however the precise quantity is unknown. The United Nations human rights workplace mentioned, as of Monday, that 4,731 civilians had been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion started on Feb. 24, together with greater than 300 youngsters, with one other 5,900 civilians injured within the battle. The company mentioned many of the casualties have been brought on by means of “explosive weapons with a large influence space, together with shelling from heavy artillery and a number of launch rocket techniques, and missile and air strikes,” and that the precise variety of useless and wounded was seemingly far larger.

The West has levied sanctions on a swath of Russia’s financial system to punish Moscow, an effort that to date has completed little to discourage the Russian offensive. Just like the bans on different Russian corporations, sanctions on weapons corporations are supposed to hamper their potential to promote to international clients. These penalties restrict their entry to imported elements and usually make it extra expensive and time-consuming to provide weaponry. Levying sanctions on the folks behind these corporations goes a step additional to make the ache private. It permits Western nations to go after any mansions, yachts and different offshore wealth of those that provide Russia’s navy, and it limits the place they will journey overseas.

“You are demonstrating that being a regime collaborator comes with a price,” mentioned Max Bergmann, a former State Division official through the Obama administration who labored on U.S. arms transfers and safeguarding U.S. navy expertise. “They really feel it very personally. You are making a disgruntled class of individuals which are tied to the Kremlin,” mentioned Bergmann, now director of the Europe program on the Middle for Strategic and Worldwide Research, a Washington-based nationwide safety assume tank.


Different corporations in Russia’s protection trade recognized by Reuters that haven’t been sanctioned by america, EU or UK embody the V.A. Degtyarev Plant, a facility 165 miles northeast of Moscow that makes machine weapons, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons which are offered to the Russian navy. Its weapons embody the Kalashnikov PKM and PKTM machine weapons, in addition to Kord rifles and machine weapons, a few of that are mounted on armored autos.

The Degtyarev Plant didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Additionally not sanctioned is the Klimovsk Specialised Ammunition Plant, south of Moscow, the place “world-famous cartridges” for pistols and Kalashnikov assault rifles are produced, in keeping with an archived model of its web site. Neither is the Novosibirsk Cartridge Plant, an ammunition producer that calls itself “one of many main engineering enterprises of the military-industrial complicated of Russia.”

Neither ammunition plant responded to requests for remark.

Final month, Reuters sought feedback from sanctions officers within the UK, EU and United States concerning the information company’s findings that that they had did not punish a raft of Russian protection corporations and tycoons fueling Putin’s conflict effort. As a part of that course of, Reuters offered these Western authorities with an in depth listing of greater than 20 corporations and greater than three-dozen those that had escaped sanctions.

The UK’s Overseas, Commonwealth and Improvement Workplace, which levies sanctions for Britain, mentioned it couldn’t touch upon future sanctions. It added that London and its allies had levied “the biggest and most extreme financial sanctions that Russia has ever confronted, to assist cripple Putin’s conflict machine.” The European Fee and the U.S. Treasury Division, which deal with sanctions for Brussels and Washington respectively, declined to touch upon the specifics of Reuters’ findings. Elizabeth Rosenberg, assistant secretary for terrorist financing and monetary crimes on the Treasury Division, mentioned in an announcement that sanctions have “made it more durable for Russia to acquire what it wants to obtain and produce weapons.”

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On Tuesday, along side a gathering of leaders of the G7 nations within the German Alps, the Treasury Division launched a brand new spherical of defense-related sanctions that included eight of the weapons corporations and two of the executives on the listing offered earlier by Reuters.

A kind of newly sanctioned executives, Vladimir Artyakov, has performed key roles in Russia’s weapons trade for many years, and serves because the No. 2 government at Rostec, a military-industrial big with a whole lot of subsidiaries using greater than half 1,000,000 folks, in keeping with its web site and annual studies. Artyakov can be the chairman of a minimum of 5 Russian weapons corporations, amongst them Russian Helicopters JSC, which builds a number of traces of navy helicopters together with the Ka-52 “Alligator,” a few of which have been shot down and documented in Ukraine.

He has not been sanctioned by the EU or UK.

Artyakov and Russian Helicopters didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Rostec has been sanctioned by Washington since 2014. On Tuesday america focused the corporate once more, levying sanctions on greater than 40 Rostec subsidiaries and associates. Amongst these hit was Avtomatika Concern, an organization linked to cyber warfare. It was on the listing of Russian protection corporations that Reuters had submitted to the Treasury Division final month looking for a proof as to why the businesses had not been sanctioned.

Rostec and Avtomatika Concern didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Different corporations on Reuters’ listing that have been sanctioned simply this week by the Treasury Division embody PJSC Tupolev, a maker of fighter jets such because the Tu-22M3 bomber. The Ukrainian navy mentioned Tu-22M3 bombers have been liable for a missile strike at a crowded buying heart within the central Ukrainian metropolis of Kremenchuk on Monday, which killed a minimum of 18 folks and injured about 60.

PJSC Tupolev and one other agency on Reuters’ listing, JSC VNII Sign, haven’t been sanctioned by the EU or UK. JSC VNII Sign is a producer of mechanical and navigational techniques that energy Russian navy tanks and among the nation’s most superior missile techniques.

PJSC Tupolev and JSC VNII Sign didn’t reply to requests for remark.


Executives at a bunch of Russian weapons corporations, in the meantime, have largely escaped sanctions from Western authorities.

Practically three months after a Tochka-U ballistic missile hit a practice station within the jap Ukrainian metropolis of Kramatorsk on April 8, Russian weapons executives linked to the corporate that makes these missiles have but to pay a value. The strike killed greater than 50 folks, together with youngsters, and injured greater than 100 others.

The Russian agency JSC Analysis and Manufacturing Company Konstruktorskoye Byuro Mashynostroyeniya, often known as KBM, has been the first producer of Tochka-U missiles, in keeping with a U.S. Military database of worldwide navy tools. Neither Washington, Brussels or London have sanctioned Sergey Pitikov, KBM’s chief government.

The three Western allies have likewise spared Alexander Denisov, the CEO of NPO Excessive Precision Programs, KBM’s mum or dad firm. Excessive Precision Programs oversees manufacturing of a variety of missiles, artillery, grenade launchers and machine weapons utilized by Russian troops and outfitted on navy helicopters, plane, tanks and warships.

Sanctions on Russia’s arms corporations and tycoons have been utilized inconsistently by the Western allies. The US and EU have sanctioned Excessive Precision Programs, for instance, whereas the UK has not. The US has sanctioned KBM, however the EU and UK haven’t.

Excessive Precision Programs, Pitikov and Denisov didn’t reply to requests for remark. KBM confirmed that Pitikov is its chief government, however didn’t reply to further questions submitted by Reuters.

Europe and america have did not coordinate sanctions even on makers of banned weapons.

For the reason that outset of Russia’s invasion in late February, Western governments and human rights teams have decried its use of cluster munitions: small bombs delivered by missiles or rockets, which scatter and explode over an space as massive as a metropolis block. A 2008 worldwide treaty bans their use or manufacturing beneath any circumstances due to the devastating results on civilians.

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Russia used a Uragan – which interprets to “Hurricane” – rocket launcher system to fireplace cluster bombs in Kharkiv on March 24, killing eight civilians and injuring 15 others, in keeping with the U.N. human rights workplace and Ukrainian officers.

The Uragan is made by JSC Scientific and Manufacturing Affiliation Splav, a Russian agency whose techniques have been offered overseas to international locations together with India. The corporate has been sanctioned by america, however not by the UK or EU. Its CEO, Alexander Smirnov, has escaped sanctions altogether.

Splav and Smirnov didn’t reply to requests for remark.

It is a lot the identical for Splav’s mum or dad firm, NPK Techmash. The US and the EU have sanctioned the agency, however the UK has not. Techmash CEO Alexander Kochkin has not been focused by American or European authorities.

Techmash and Kochkin didn’t reply to requests for remark.

In a June 10 assertion, the European Fee mentioned there’s an effort to align sanctions lists “as a lot as legally potential” amongst allies to attain “the utmost cumulative impact of the sanctions with all our like-minded companions.” In circumstances the place the lists don’t align, the Fee assertion mentioned, folks and firms not presently on the EU’s sanctions listing might be added later if there’s adequate proof.

“Nothing is off the desk,” the assertion mentioned.


One of many highest-profile Russian corporations to flee Western sanctions is VSMPO-Avisma Corp, which is the world’s largest titanium provider and 25% owned by Rostec. It provides Russia’s protection trade, but in addition counts main Western aerospace corporations amongst its purchasers.

Based mostly in Verkhnyaya Salda, in central Russia, VSMPO-Avisma has subsidiaries with services in america, Switzerland and the UK, in addition to gross sales and distribution employees in america, Europe and Asia, in keeping with its web site and annual studies. That is little question an element that has allowed the corporate to flee punishment, in keeping with three sanctions and Russian protection specialists who spoke with Reuters.

VSMPO-Avisma’s vice chairman and majority shareholder, Russian billionaire Mikhail Shelkov, ranked by Forbes this 12 months as Russia’s 59th-richest particular person, likewise has not been sanctioned.

In accordance with previous press releases, VSMPO-Avisma has long-term contracts to produce titanium to United Plane Corp, a Rostec subsidiary that oversees manufacturing of Russian fighter jets such because the Su-34 which have been shot down in Ukraine. United Plane has been sanctioned by america, EU and UK.

VSMPO-Avisma additionally sells to Europe’s Airbus, and it equipped U.S. aerospace behemoth Boeing Co up till March, when the Arlington, Virginia-based firm mentioned it stopped buying titanium from Russia. Boeing had introduced simply months earlier, in November 2021, that VSMPO-Avisma can be its largest titanium provider “for present and future Boeing industrial airplanes.”

VSMPO-Avisma and shareholder Shelkov declined to remark. Boeing mentioned in an announcement that it has labored since 2014 to diversify its sources of titanium around the globe, and that its present stock and sources “present adequate provide for airplane manufacturing.”

Airbus didn’t reply particular questions on its relationship with VSMPO-Avisma. However in an emailed assertion it mentioned potential sanctions on Russian titanium “would massively harm your entire aerospace trade in Europe” whereas doing little to hurt Russia as a result of these gross sales are however a small portion of that nation’s general exports.

In 2020, international gross sales accounted for about two-thirds of VSMPO-Avisma’s $1.25 billion in income, in keeping with the corporate’s most up-to-date annual report.

That places Western officers in a troublesome spot, mentioned Richard Connolly, director of Japanese Advisory Group, a UK consultancy that advises governments and companies on the Russian financial system and its protection trade. Slapping sanctions on VSMPO-Avisma would curtail its profitable export commerce, however it will additionally pressure main gamers in international aviation to change suppliers or threat sanctions themselves.

“That is the basic sanctions conundrum: If you wish to damage any individual, you are going to damage your self,” Connolly mentioned.