May 24, 2022

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Belarus expands its military activity, and Lithuania calls Russia a state sponsor of terrorism

Belarus expands its military activity, and Lithuania calls Russia a state sponsor of terrorism

A senior US executive said Tuesday that the Western export control regime imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine is limiting Moscow’s ability to pursue the war, harming the Kremlin’s intelligence capabilities and the country’s land, air and sea power.

The US and its allies say the ban on the export of a wide range of sensitive and advanced technologies, as well as other products and parts that Russia depends on, is aimed at weakening Moscow’s ability to project power.

The Biden administration says it will take time for Russia to feel the full effects of export controls, such as those targeting the sale of computer chips and jet engine components. But US officials say they also see immediate effects on Russia’s military power.

Wali Ademo, Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury, said that two of Russia’s largest tank manufacturers had to stop production because they were unable to obtain needed parts.

Matthew Axelrod, the US assistant secretary of commerce for export enforcement, said one of Russia’s few domestic producers of semiconductor chips — computer components important to nearly every economic sector — has also been forced to halt production. Mr Axelrod said the lack of spare parts affected the production of Elbrus chips made by the government-funded SPARC Moscow Technology Center, citing technology used by the Russian military and intelligence services.

“We will see additional effects on the battlefield because the Russian aviation industry and the Russian naval industry are unable to source their parts, which they need in order to keep their planes flying, their submarines moving and their boats sailing,” said the Assistant Secretary.

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Those effects will compound over time, Mr. Axelrod said in an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s Risk and Compliance Forum, particularly as Washington’s allies sync up their export control regimes and increase law enforcement, while Russia is raiding domestic stocks and the ability to dismantle parts. diminished. The assistant secretary of state, who oversees the commercial law enforcement arm, the Bureau of Industry and Security, said his office has launched several investigations into possible export control violations.

But he said there is little sign that other countries such as China and India are compensating for the loss of exports even though they have not joined the Western-led pressure campaign against Russia. Citing a Wall Street Journal report published on Monday showing a decline in technology exports from China to Russia, he said the risk of losing access to the world’s largest economies has so far proven to be a deterrent for foreign companies to offset losses from Moscow’s imports.

“We haven’t seen significant evidence of evasion yet, but of course we’re looking very hard,” said Mr. Axelrod.

While the Biden administration says it has already imposed some of its most powerful tools of economic coercion, the top law enforcement official said more export controls would be imminent, noting Monday’s expansion of the ban to cover a broader range of commercial and industrial operations, including lumber. Products and construction machinery. Western allies, in addition to harming Russia’s military capabilities, seek to undermine the country’s economic growth to deprive Moscow of the funding needed to fund its armed forces, intelligence services, and other foreign operations.

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Western allies are now increasingly focused on filling any loopholes in sanctions and export regimes by warning companies, punishing companies found to be violating prohibitions, and helping Russia.

Mr. Axelrod said the United States had already seized 187 shipments bound for Russia and its ally Belarus for more than $77 million in goods. His office has also started an awareness campaign for companies whose general trade records show have previously shipped items under the new control to Russia, contacting more than 400 companies so far.

The Bureau of Industry and Security has also opened several investigations as federal investigators believe there may have been violations of export controls, he said without going into details.