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US Senate to hold hearing on presence of US-made chips in Russian weapons

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 22, 2024 2:52 PM 2 min read
The graph shows the origin of components found by Ukrainian authorities in various Russian weapons, according to the new database launched by the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, or NAZK, as of Dec. 18, 2023. (Graph: Nizar Al-Rifai)
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The U.S. Senate will hold a hearing on the usage of U.S.-made microchips in Russian weapons, Senator Richard Blumenthal announced on Feb. 21.

Western-made electronic components, especially from the U.S., have been repeatedly found in Russian weapons used to attack Ukraine. Despite sanctions, Russia imported more than $1 billion of advanced chips from the U.S. and Europe in the first nine months of 2023, Bloomberg reported in January 2024, citing confidential data from the Russian customs service.

U.S.-made chips have also made their way into weapons produced by other pariah nations like North Korea that are subsequently used by Russia to strike civilian targets in Ukraine.

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The hearing, entitled "The U.S. Technology Fueling Russia's War in Ukraine: How and Why," is scheduled for Feb. 27, Blumenthal wrote.

It is intended to address "continued evidence that export controls intended to block Russia from using American technology in its war are being evaded by Russia and its proxies."

Blumenthal wrote that the hearing may particularly focus on the four largest producers of semiconductors in the U.S., whose exports to third-party countries close to Russia have grown exponentially since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

The companies' exports to Kazakhstan increased more than 1,000 times from 2021 to 2022. In the same time period, exports to Georgia and Armenia were 34 and 28 times greater, respectively.

"This data raises significant questions about the export control and compliance programs at these American semiconductor manufacturers," the announcement read.

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