| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Germany arrests suspect over war drone component sales to Russia

Germany arrested a German-Russian man for selling to Russia electronic components that are used in military gear, including drones currently deployed by Moscow’s troops in Ukraine.

Through his company in western Germany, the suspect, identified as Waldemar W., exported components on 26 occasions from January 2020 to March 2023 to a company in Russia that makes military equipment, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

The objects supplied by the suspect are a common component of the “Orlan 10” drone, prosecutors said, noting that the particular type of equipment is “currently used by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine”.

Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the components were already covered by sanctions imposed by the EU in 2014 against Moscow over its illegal annexation of Crimea.

To circumvent the embargo, the suspect first imported the goods from abroad to Germany before transferring them to two civilian dummy companies based in Russia, prosecutors said.

The Russian companies then ensured that the components were sent on to the military gear manufacturer, they said.

After the outbreak of the war, the suspect allegedly switched to sending the goods via other locations such as Dubai and Lithuania, with the help of fictitious recipients abroad.

Prosecutors estimated the value of the trade at 715,000 euros ($770,000).

  • AFP