Investigation launched into British components of Russian weapons systems Business

An investigation has been opened by the government after British-made components were used in weapons systems deployed by Russia in Ukraine.

According to field research by academics from the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), inspections of abandoned kits left behind by Vladimir Putin’s forces revealed a deep reliance on Western-made parts.

In just one example, a Borisoglebsk-2 mobile jamming system was found to contain sophisticated components manufactured in the UK, US, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan and the Netherlands.

The UK parts included several high-frequency transistors, examples of so-called ‘dual-purpose’ electronics which can be used for both military and civilian purposes.

The Telegraph understands that a Whitehall investigation has been launched into the British components and how they were used in the Russian kit.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the Department for International Trade said: “We have introduced the largest and toughest economic sanctions Russia has ever faced, to help cripple Putin’s war machine, including by sanctioning key defense organizations and banning the export of critical technologies.

“The UK has one of the strongest and most transparent export control regimes in the world, and an immediate arms embargo was imposed on Russia in July 2014 following its illegal annexation of Crimea”.

Companies have been banned from exporting dual-use technology to Russia since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine. There is no evidence that UK suppliers knowingly broke the rules.

However, experts have raised concerns that high-value parts and weapons could continue to enter Russia if sold to countries like India, which is considered a major smuggling route for the Kremlin.

Speaking during a foreign visit to New Delhi last month, Boris Johnson said the government would seek to close “loopholes of every kind” exploited by the Putin regime.

Stifling the supply of necessary replacement components for weapons and equipment is seen as a way to degrade Moscow’s military machine over time.

However, Dr Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds, the authors of the Rusi report, warned that it would be complicated because in many cases the Russians were using covert tactics to disguise who the coins were ultimately destined for.

The Kremlin uses shell companies, middlemen and even blackmail to get what it needs, they said. In a different case, it is believed that they used Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, as a way to buy high-tech parts for the military.

The researchers said: “Although Russian weapons are full of Western-made components, it is not clear that the companies making them knew that the Russian military was the end user.

“Many components are dual-use technologies. In the meantime, Russia has put in place mechanisms for laundering these items through third countries.

“Additionally, there are myriad companies based around the world, including in the Czech Republic, Serbia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, India and China, that will take considerable risks to meet the needs of Russian supplies.”

They said limiting such supplies could force the UK government to restrict the export of dual-use items to third countries such as India, but this risked a diplomatic backlash.

On the day of the release of their report, ministers announced they would ease arms export deals with New Delhi, in a bid to encourage closer defense cooperation with the Prime Minister’s government. Narendra Modi.

Mr Reynolds said India’s relationship with Russia is also “very complicated” as it depends on Moscow for the supply of equipment for its own large army.

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This notice was published: 2022-05-02 15:20:49

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