The UK government launched the “largest ever UK action” against Russia’s access to foreign military supplies on Tuesday.
Businesses and people in Turkey, Dubai, Slovakia, and Switzerland were sanctioned.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stated that the curbs will “further diminish Russia’s arsenal and close the net on supply chains propping up Putin’s now struggling defence industry.”
However, despite consecutive rounds of sanctions imposed by the UK, US, and EU, Russia still has the pieces it requires to keep its military machine running.
The reasons for this are numerous, but they boil down to Moscow’s continuous access to small but critical components of Western technology, particularly microchips.
Much of the Kremlin’s weaponry, including ballistic and cruise missiles, makes heavy use of electronic components manufactured in the US, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Israel and China.
In June, Kyiv’s KSE Institute, in association with the Yermak-McFaul International Working Group on Russian Sanctions, analyzed 1,057 separate foreign components found in 58 pieces of captured Russian weaponry.
It found that microchips and processors accounted for about half of the components and that around two thirds of them were made by American companies.
The top five manufacturers were all American, including Analogue Devices, Texas Instruments and Intel.
The research echoed findings in other reports stretching back to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
In May, the UK, EU, and US issued a joint list of 38 “common high priority items” and urged corporations to “undertake due diligence to ensure that the end destination of these products is not Russia.”
A diverse spectrum of electronic integrated circuits, semiconductors, lasers, and navigational equipment were featured on the list.
Western officials claim they are making success, citing a Turkish presidential decree issued earlier this year that prevented the transportation of some items sanctioned by the EU, UK, and US to Russia.
They also point out that, while Russia continues to import huge numbers of semiconductors, the quality isn’t always the best.