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US warns American companies to stop shipping products that may end up in Russian weapons

by Nate Ostiller March 29, 2024 12:46 PM 1 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. Commerce Department sent letters to at least 20 American companies telling them to cease shipments of materials abroad that may end up in Russian weapons, a department official said on March 28.

Despite wide-reaching import bans and sanctions, the U.S. and its allies have struggled to prevent Western components from ending up in Russian weapons used to attack Ukraine. U.S. components have also been reportedly found in North Korean-made missiles launched at Ukraine.

As part of an effort to crack down on sanctions evasion, U.S. President Joe Biden issued an executive order in December 2023 threatening that even companies that inadvertently did business with Russia could be sanctioned as well.  

The Commerce Department's warning is similarly concerned with companies that do not appear to be deliberately providing Russia with military components.

The letters "requested that the American companies voluntarily stop shipping to these parties due to the high risk of transshipment to Russia," said Matthew Axelrod, a Commerce Department official.

Axelrod added that other government officials have been directly contacting companies whose products have previously been found in Russian weapons in order to assess what additional steps can be taken to prevent a repeat occurrence.

Axelrod did not specify which companies received the warnings nor what the potential consequences would be if the shipments continued.

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