Taiwan has become the biggest exporter of metalworking equipment to Russia during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a new joint investigation by the Russian independent media The Insider and Taiwanese The Reporter, published on Jan. 27, revealed.
The investigation brings to light the latest instance of Russia's successful effort to circumvent sanctions, importing tech and equipment for defense production amid its ongoing aggression against Ukraine. Despite the West's initial expectations to suffocate Russia's war machine through sanctions, the effort has had limited success, as Russia adapted to restrictions, often using third-country intermediaries for import.
According to the media investigation, Taiwan banned export of metalworking equipment to Russia in January 2023. Moscow nonetheless received 193 pieces of Taiwanese-made metalworking machinery worth nearly $29 million from March to September 2023.
Nearly 80% of the equipment is reportedly sent to Russia via intermediaries, Turkey and China, the investigation revealed, citing data from the Russian customs service.
According to Taiwan's customs data cited in the investigation, the total price of metalworking equipment exported to Turkey increased by 45% from January to October 2023.
Such machinery is used in the production of a range of military equipment and arms, including high-precision weapons.
Earlier on Dec. 27, Taiwan expanded its sanctions against Russia and Belarus to include additional high-tech goods that could be made into weapons, the country's Economy Ministry announced on Dec. 26.