Big out of sync. While the US government is actively helping Ukraine, some American firms have supplied weapons electronics to the Russian

16 November, 03:21 PM
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From Feb. 24 to mid-September, world governments and financial institutions provided Ukraine with $17.4 billion in economic support, with 84.4% of the funds ($14.7 billion) coming from the United States.

Oleksandr Dubilet

Financial and banking expert, founder of the "Total Isolation of Russia" initiative

However, while Washington allocates substantial monthly tranches to buttress Ukraine’s economy, American businesses continue to trade with Russia. Moscow’s army is destroying Ukrainian infrastructure, which requires even more money to repair it. It’s a thoroughly Ouroboros-like dynamics.

One case which is worth paying attention to, is that according to the Royal United Institute for Defense Research (RUSI), American companies Analog Devices, Texas Instruments, and others, supplied large volumes of electronics, integrated circuits and other electronic components to the Design Bureau of Navigation Systems (DB Navis), in 2017-2021. Those were sold through intermediaries – probably to circumvent U.S. export restrictions. Although DB Navis is not included in the U.S. sanctions list, it produces critical technological components for the Russian military industry.

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Surprisingly, DB Navis positions itself as a manufacturer of civilian goods. But, as usual, where there are tractors – there are tanks. RUSI experts are confident that the enterprise produces critical technologies for Russia’s missile production program and works closely with the government.

Basically, DB Navis is a leading Russian enterprise specializing in the designing of products that use GLONASS and GPS signals, including navigation equipment for marine, aviation, and other uses.

In particular:

  • Navigation equipment CH-99, used in Russian 9M727 (Iskander systems) cruise missiles and Kh-101 (long-range strategic air-to-ground missile);
  • Navigation systems BRIZ-KM-I. This type of device is widely used by the Russian military and especially intelligence officers to accurately determine their own location and estimate coordinates for targeting artillery and air strikes.

Products made by DB Navis have clearly become a component in Russia's preparations for the invasion of Ukraine. In 2019 alone, 72.6% of the company's contracts came from the Russian Ministry of Defense (worth RUB3.5 billion rubles – $55 million).

Dear American Friends

The Iskander missiles wouldn’t be accurate if the Navis Design Bureau didn’t use the intellectual and technological resources of U.S. companies. Deliveries from Analog Devices and Texas Instruments were carried out through intermediary companies based in Switzerland, Israel, China, and Malaysia.

In nine out of ten cases, the logistics supply chain from the United States to Russia passed through Swiss company NVS Technologies AG. It has a very close relationship with Russia, as its CEO, Vasily Engeltsberg, is also a co-founder of DB Navis and owns more than 8% of its shares. Another co-founder of the Russian company, Valery Babakov (owns more than 29% of the company), worked as the chief designer of consumer navigation equipment at Almaz-Antey, a company that is being supplied with equipment from U.S. firms Nvidia, Indium, Zoller, Walter, and Techlub, Swiss Blaser Swisslube, and UK GARANT.

 Currently, DB Navis is not included in the list of sanctioned companies. Therefore, one assumes the supply chain is set up through intermediaries to avoid the export restrictions of certain types of military and dual-use technologies.

 Dear American Friends, part two

The Design Bureau of Navigation Systems isn’t the only Russian enterprise that U.S. industrialists from Analog Devices and Texas Instruments help stay technologically relevant. In particular, the latter has become the largest supplier of components for Iskander missiles and has even found a way to sell parts for Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drones.

Meanwhile, Analog Devices likely supplied its products to the Russian Research and Production Association Izhevsk Unmanned Systems, which makes the Tachyon drone, used by Moscow’s troops to correct artillery fire in the field.

But Tachyon isn’t the only thing they got. Analog Devices actively sold its products to the sub-sanctioned Sozvezdie (Russian for “constellation”) holding company. And even here, Ukraine and Russia are completely different: in our country, we have a theater called Constellation, while in Russia it is an enterprise that produces military multifunctional complex Borisoglebsk-2. Researchers discovered its control module contains U.S.-made components.

 The Russian army uses Borisoglebsk-2 primarily for radio reconnaissance and communications jamming. Essentially, this system detects and jams various communication channels used by Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

The first eight Borisoglebsk-2 units were handed over to the Russian army in 2013. After the illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea, production didn’t stop, and since 2015 it has even has accelerated! And this is despite the fact that in 2014 Sozvezdie was included in the U.S. sanctions list (SDN-List), prohibiting U.S. entities from doing business with it.

But that didn’t stop the suits from Analog Devices. RUSI experts examined Borisoglebsk-2’s electronic components and found parts from Analog Devices in the R-330BMV jamming station of this complex, in particular – an analog-to-digital converter and a broadband receiving signal processor. The company supplied components to the Russian military after 2014. Meaning, Analog Devices has likely violated the U.S. sanctions regime.

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Themis is invited to speak out

Lawyers from our Total Isolation of Russia initiative have already filed a complaint against Analog Devices with the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

U.S. Treasury’s OFAC is responsible for planning and implementing economic and trade sanctions against adversarial states like Russia.

Lawyers also filed a similar application against Intel Corporation. They also filed an application with the European Commission against the French company SAFRAN, which was noted for the supply of sensor modules and high-precision laser rangefinders for the Russian army. The European Commission, in response to our appeal, took control of the investigation of sanctions violations by this enterprise.

When I founded Total Isolation of Russia, I set a clear goal: to achieve the heaviest legal, financial and reputational punishment for foreign firms that boldly make money on the supply of equipment for the Russian army. Step by step, methodically and persistently, we are doing everything to ensure that their actions do not go unpunished.

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