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Investigation: Russia continues to receive weapons from US, Europe despite sanctions

by Olena Goncharova November 8, 2023 2:49 AM 2 min read
This photograph taken on Oct. 20, 2023 shows shot-down Russian drones and their parts at an exhibition called "A threat from the sky" at the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War in Kyiv, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Roman Pilipey / AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian companies continue to maintain access to purchasing firearms and ammunition from Europe and the United States, despite export restrictions that Western countries initiated against Russia, an investigation conducted by the German project Correctiv revealed.

Since the onset of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, nearly 7,300 firearms, which include over a hundred sniper rifles, and nearly eight million rounds of ammunition have been imported into Russia, according to journalists' estimates.

These imports involve products from various Western manufacturers, including U.S. companies Smith & Wesson, Barrett Firearms, and Desert Tech, Austrian brands like Glock and Steyr Arms, as well as German companies including Merkel Jagd- und Sport Waffen GmbH, Nammo Schönebeck, RWS, Ruag Ammotech, Blaser, and others.

A portion of those Western weapons reportedly found its way into the hands of the Russian military operating in Ukraine. Firearms like Glock pistols, AR-15 automatic rifles, and Blaser R8 carbines have been identified in use, according to the investigation. These weapons were also observed at the recent arms fair in Moscow.

Correctiv alleges that the weapons did not have a direct route from Western manufacturers to Russia but were likely channeled through intermediaries in third countries. There has been a noticeable surge in the supply of hunting and sporting weapons from Germany to countries such as the UAE, Croatia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, North Macedonia, Poland, and Uzbekistan since February, 2022.

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