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Media: Russian fighters use Western-made rifle scopes in Ukraine

by Dominic Culverwell December 26, 2023 4:33 PM 1 min read
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Hunting rifle scopes manufactured by Western companies are ending up in the hands of Russian fighters in Ukraine, independent Russian media outlet Important Stories reported on Dec. 26.

Russian arms companies are purchasing the sights from Western companies including U.S.-based Leupold, U.S.-Japanese firm Nightforce, U.S.-Chinese company Holosun, and Austria's Swarovski Optik, according to the investigation.

Although they are only intended for hunting and sporting purposes, Important Stories found dozens of YouTube videos showing Russian fighters using the scopes on the frontline.

The investigation found that Russia imported sights amounting to 16 billion rubles ($174 million) in 2022 and 2023.

One of the main online sellers, Pointer from St. Petersburg, purchased 50,000 sights from Holosun for 3 billion rubles ($32.5 million). Another online store, Navigator, imported sights worth approximately 400 million rubles ($4.3 million), including over 2,000 products from Holosun.

The products are then purchased by arms companies, including Tehnologiya, which was associated with former Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin. The company brought optics, rangefinders, glasses, and other equipment for 140 million rubles ($1.5 million) from Navigator.

According to Important Stories, the Western manufacturers likely don’t know where their products end up. Pointer uses intermediaries in China, while Navigator has middlemen in Turkey and Kazakhstan.

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