BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz and Kazakh companies have exported sanctioned dual-use technology to Russian suppliers of the Kremlin's war machine amid Western efforts to stymie such transfers through the Central Asian nations, an investigation by RFE/RL has found.
In response to the Kremlin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States and the European Union have tightened controls on exports to Russia of technology that can be used both for civilian and military purposes.
But Moscow has used a supply network within countries not bound by these sanctions -- including Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan -- to keep Western technology flowing into Russia. Both countries are members of the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union.
Russian imports of a range of dual-use goods from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have skyrocketed since the start of the war, including electronics produced by Western technology giants such as U.S. firms Texas Instruments and Analog Devices, whose components have been recovered from Russian weapons operating in Ukraine.
The issue has raised the specter of so-called secondary sanctions targeting the two Central Asian countries in an effort to halt this technology flow, with both U.S. and EU officials tasked with enforcing sanctions raising the issue during official visits to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in recent months.
WATCH: RFE/RL correspondents investigated how companies in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are trading with Russia in "dual-use" electronic components that can be used for civilian or military purposes. Statistics show trade in such goods, sanctioned by the European Union and the United States, has skyrocketed since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. RFE/RL's Kubat Kasymbekov reports.
In its investigation, RFE/RL found that Russian firms receiving Kazakh and Kyrgyz exports of dual-use technology have previously supplied electronics to the Russian defense industry, including state entities hit by Western or Ukrainian sanctions in response to Russian aggression.
Reporters from RFE/RL's Kazakh and Kyrgyz Services -- together with Schemes, the investigative unit of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service -- analyzed customs, procurement, and corporate records for companies involved in these dual-use transfers, as well as Ukrainian intelligence data on Western electronics recovered in Russian weapons.
One Russian importer identified by reporters was incorporated in the defense-industry city of Izhevsk less than two months after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. While RFE/RL was unable to locate records showing the firm is a Russian military supplier, its director is a karate coach who has worked for a factory -- also based in Izhevsk -- that the U.S. government says "develops items and technologies for Russia's military."
A top trading partner of the Russian firm, customs records show, has been a Kyrgyz firm that was founded less than a month after the February 2022 invasion that exports advanced electronics to Russia.
In other cases, established Russian electronics suppliers have used Kazakh affiliates to export dual-use electronics to themselves following the invasion.
One of the Russian firms, a large electronics company called ITC, has supplied technology to multiple Russian defense-industry entities sanctioned by the United States -- and itself was hit by Ukrainian sanctions last month. Customs records show ITC used an affiliated Latvian-based logistics firm to send dual-use technology via a Kazakh company that ITC founded several years earlier.
In many cases, dual-use goods that Kyrgyz and Kazakh firms send to Russia from the United States or Europe are delivered directly to Russian clients without going through Central Asia, multiple industry sources told RFE/RL.
"The money and the contract go through Bishkek," a man who identified himself as Andrei said when RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service contacted him through a Kyrgyz import-export company's website offering import services from the United States and the EU.
"The goods go straight to Russia," he added.
The Data Sources We Used
For this investigation, RFE/RL analyzed thousands of records from a range of data sources. Customs records reviewed by reporters were gathered by the commercial import-export data aggregators ImportGenius and Sinoimex, as well as by C4ADS, a Washington-based global security nonprofit organization.
Data about companies cited in this report came from official commercial registries in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and other countries, as well as the SPARK database, which collates official ownership and financial information about companies in a range of jurisdictions. Russian state procurement data cited in the investigation was collected by SPARK and the Russian website Clearspending.ru, which aggregates official data on Russian tenders.
The data on Western electronics recovered from Russian armaments in Ukraine was obtained from Ukrainian intelligence records provided to the EU, which subsequently produced an analysis of this data. The records were obtained by Schemes, the investigative unit of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service. RFE/RL reporters reviewed both the Ukrainian intelligence document and the EU analysis.
Customs records for the dual-use goods shipped to Russia by Kyrgyz and Kazakh companies include the kinds of microchips, telecommunications equipment, and other electronics the Ukrainian military has recovered from Russian missiles, tanks, helicopters, drones, and radio systems.
Precisely what happens to these components after they reach their Russian buyer is difficult to ascertain given that information about Russia's military-procurement system is not made public.
But on a single day in December 2022, a Kazakh firm called EltexAlatau exported to Russia more than 100 shipments of dual-use electronics of the kind that Kyiv says are being used by the Russian military in Ukraine.
Among those shipments -- whose Russian consignee was not listed in customs records -- was the type of Analog Devices chip that Ukrainian forces recovered from a thermal gunner's sight that provides night vision in Russia's main battle tank. And a Russian affiliate of the Kazakh exporter openly states that its "regular" clients include the Russian Defense Ministry and Federal Security Service.
RFE/RL sought comment from the presidential administrations in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan but did not receive a response prior to publication.
But speaking alongside German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier following bilateral talks in Astana this week, Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev said his government follows "all the rules that have been adopted in the international market."
"As for the so-called export of dual-use goods to Russia, this is absolutely not true," Toqaev said, though he did not specify what he considers to be untrue.
Steinmeier, for his part, said after the June 20 talks that Brussels and Astana are coordinating closely on preventing Russian from avoiding Western sanctions.
"We need to beef up all possible efforts to prevent the evasion of sanctions. And we heard during our talks that there are close contacts between Kazakh agencies and the EU agencies about these issues," Steinmeier said.
A day after Steinmeier's talks in Astana, EU governments agreed on an 11th package of sanctions targeting Russia that includes what the EU's Swedish presidency said are "measures aimed at countering sanctions circumvention."
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on June 21 that the new sanctions would "deal a further blow to Putin's war machine with tightened export restrictions, targeting entities supporting the Kremlin."
"Our anti-circumvention tool will prevent Russia from getting its hands on sanctioned goods," Leyen said on Twitter.
Export Spikes And Western Pressure
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States and the EU imposed an unprecedented wave of sanctions targeting the Kremlin and the Russian economy, including restrictions on Western electronics and other technology used by the Russian military.
These products, however, have continued to flow into Russia from countries that have not joined the Western sanctions, most notably China. But customs records and trade data also reveal a massive spike in imports by Kyrgyz and Kazakh companies of dual-use technology that is restricted under U.S. and EU sanctions since the invasion -- and in the export of these same types of goods from the two Central Asian countries to Russia.
RFE/RL reviewed a document that Kyiv provided to the EU listing hundreds of pieces of electronics and other components that Ukraine recovered from Russian battlefield weapons and support systems. Reporters then analyzed trade data for specific customs codes for these products in an EU assessment of the Ukrainian list.
The analysis reveals a glimpse of the scale of sanctions-circumvention in sensitive electronics, showing a huge jump in Kyrgyz and Kazakh imports from the EU of the types of Western electronics Ukraine has recovered from Russian armaments -- and a similar jump in the transfer of these categories of goods to Russia -- since the start of Moscow's war against Ukraine.
For example, global imports of computers to Kazakhstan rose sevenfold to $1.2 billion in 2022 compared to the previous year, including $310 million from the EU. Kazakh exports to Russia in this category, meanwhile, jumped more than 2,300 times from the previous year to nearly $300 million.
Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, did not import or export a single part for airplanes, helicopters, or drones in 2021, according to UN trade data. But in 2022, Kyrgyz firms imported $3.5 million in such parts -- primarily from the United States -- and exported $1.5 million in this category to Russia.
EU officials have publicly stated concerns that dual-use technology exported from member states is being dropped off in Russia despite its stated destination being listed as EEU states in Central Asia and elsewhere -- a scheme that multiple participants in the Kyrgyz and Kazakh reexport business confirmed to RFE/RL.
"We wish to discuss with the authorities putting in place a system that will enable us to verify that goods dispatched from Europe via Russia to the countries of Central Asia do indeed, in practice, arrive in those countries of destination and do not end up in Russia," David O'Sullivan, the EU's international special envoy for the implementation of EU sanctions, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service on March 28.
Officials in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan have found themselves under pressure from both Moscow and Western governments over technology transfers to Russia and have expressed concern over potential secondary sanctions against them by the United States and the EU.
Timur Suleimenov, first deputy chief of staff to the Kazakh president, told Euractiv in an April interview that Kazakhstan "will not be a tool to circumvent the sanctions on Russia."
"We are going to abide by the sanctions. Even though we are part of the [EEU] with Russia, Belarus, and other countries, we are also part of the international community. Therefore the last thing we want is secondary sanctions of the U.S. and the EU to be applied to Kazakhstan," he added.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, meanwhile, told a briefing in Moscow last month that Russia is "certain that the Central Asian capitals are well aware that neither the West nor anyone else will be able to compensate for the damage caused by the artificial restriction of ties with our country."
Speaking at an EU-Central Asia summit in the Kyrgyz resort town of Cholpon-Ata in early June, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov said: "We understand the concerns and requests of our European partners regarding a certain group of goods subject to sanctions and are ready to continue dialogue with the EU on this issue."
Bishkek To Russia's 'Arms Capital'
Two months after Putin launched the Ukraine invasion, a photo was published online showing a Russian-made BMP-1AM armored fighting vehicle -- also known as a Basurmanin -- on the streets of Kupyansk, then controlled by Russian forces, in Ukraine's eastern Kharkiv region. Days later, a Russian war propagandist posted footage of a Russian convoy that included Basurmanins rolling through the eastern Ukrainian countryside.
The Basurmanin is outfitted with a tactical radio known as the Aqueduct that provides for secure battlefield communications. But while the Aqueduct is Russian-made, it is packed with electronics from U.S. and EU technology firms, including Texas Instruments, Atmel, and Xilinx.
One component that Ukraine recovered from an Aqueduct tactical radio unit was an operational amplifier produced by the Massachusetts-based semiconductor manufacturer Analog Devices, the Ukrainian intelligence records show.
About a month after the Basurmanin armored fighting vehicle was spotted in eastern Ukraine, a newly incorporated Kyrgyz company exported Analog Devices amplifiers of this same series, AD822, to a new Russian company with links to a manufacturer of communications equipment for the Russian military.
Whether amplifiers in this specific shipment ended up in Russian armaments is unknown. But since its founding in March 2022, the Bishkek-based company that exported it -- RM Design and Development -- has sent hundreds of shipments of dual-use technology under Western export controls to Russia, an RFE/RL analysis of ImportGenius records has found.
The Russian recipient of RM Design and Development's shipment of Analog Devices amplifiers in May 2022 was Mikropribor, a firm incorporated shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the Urals city of Izhevsk, home of the Kalashnikov assault rifle and known as the "arms capital" of Russia for its major role in the Kremlin's weapons industry.
ImportGenius records reviewed by RFE/RL show that RM Design and Development last year sent Mikropribor more than 300 shipments of dual-use technology categorized as "high-priority" by the United States due to its use in Russian arms.
Mikropribor's listed shareholder is a local accountant named Liliya Ismagilova, while its director is a karate coach named Maria Fyodorova. Neither has been a shareholder or director of any other company, Russian corporate registries show.
But leaked data from Russian government records reviewed by RFE/RL show that Fyodorova has worked for the Izhevsk Radio Plant (IRZ), a technology developer and manufacturer that supplies the Russian military and which Ukraine has targeted with sanctions. Fyodorova's own Instagram posts indicate she has worked for IRZ.
The United States has said IRZ "develops items and technologies for Russia's military" and imposed sanctions on a partner of the Izhevsk plant, but not on IRZ itself.
Fyodorova did not answer repeated calls or requests for comment sent to her via WhatsApp, which indicated that RFE/RL's inquiries had been read. After reporters attempted to contact her, Fyodorova made her Instagram account private.
Reached by telephone, Ismagilova did not deny she was connected to Mikropribor, which did not respond to an inquiry, but said she could not immediately comment and asked to call back. She did not answer subsequent phone calls.
RM Design and Development, which was incorporated into Bishkek's Free Economic Zone, has also shipped dual-use goods to at least two Russian firms that have supplied electronics to Russian state entities in the defense sector that were hit with Western and Ukrainian sanctions in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The lone founder and shareholder of RM Design and Development is a Kyrgyz businessman named Shakir Marov, who has worked as director at a local paintball club. Marov appears to be an associate of the family of Bishkek-based businessman Anton Ripp, who managed a Russian company called Riberg that received electronics shipments from RM Design and Development last year.
Reached by telephone, Marov referred RFE/RL to an associate named Ivan Plutitskiy, who declined to discuss RM Design and Development's exports to Russia, saying the firm is a "small, nonpublic company." Shortly after the conversation, the company's website went offline. Neither Marov nor Plutitskiy responded to written requests for comment.
Ripp told RFE/RL that he had sold the Russian company Riberg but did not respond to questions about RM Design and Development.
Kazakh Firms, Russian Roots
During Russia's siege of Mariupol in the spring of 2022, invading Russian forces deployed their T-72B3M main battle tanks in a nearly three-month operation that left the eastern Ukrainian city in ruins. The T-72B3M -- an upgrade of Russia's T-72 tanks -- has been used by Russia elsewhere in Ukraine, and in December its manufacturer announced it had delivered a fresh batch to the Russian military.
Among the features of the T-72B3M is a Russian-made gunner's sight known as the Sosna-U that -- like the Aqueduct tactical radio in the Basurmanin armored vehicle -- was made using Western electronics.
Video monitoring equipment used in the Sosna-U and recovered from a Russian T-72B3M tank operating in Ukraine featured numerous Western electronic components, including a two-channel transceiver produced by Analog Devices.
On a single day in early December 2022 -- around the time the tank's manufacturer was delivering the new batch to the Russian military -- a company based in Almaty, Kazakhstan's economic capital, shipped to Russia more than 100 exports of the kind of dual-use technology that -- according to an EU analysis of Ukrainian intelligence -- is helping fuel Russia's war machine.
Customs records gathered by the Washington-based research group C4ADS and shared with RFE/RL show that among these shipments was the same kind of Analog Devices transceiver that Ukraine recovered from the Russian T-72B3M tank.
The data did not include the name of the Russian buyer of the transceivers and other dual-use items shipped by the Kazakh company, called EltexAlatau. But the Kazakh firm is an official partner of the Russian telecommunications producer Eltex, and the two companies are linked via a common shareholder, a Russian businessman named Aleksei Chernikov.
Another of the Russian firm's official partners, Eltex-MSK, states on its website that its "regular clients" include the Russian Defense Ministry, the Kremlin's Federal Protection Service, and the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia's main domestic intelligence agency. An Eltex executive wrote in 2017 that the company has carried out "complex" projects for Russian private and state entities, including the Russian Defense Ministry.
EltexAlatau, which did not respond to a request for comment, is one of several Kazakh companies that has shipped dual-use technology to Russia since the beginning of Russia's invasion. While EltexAlatau was incorporated in 2011, other Kazakh firms involved in these exports were established shortly after the invasion.
The Almaty-based Elem Group, for example, was incorporated on March 14, 2022, less than three weeks after Putin launched the all-out invasion. The company is closely associated with a Russian firm called Streloi E-Kommerts, which has received at least 300 shipments of electronics -- including dual-use goods -- from Elem Group since January.
Of these shipments, 273 listed dual-use goods that have been deemed by Washington as "high-priority" for export controls to Russia, according to records from the customs database Sinoimex, which is operated by the Chinese company Dalian Infobank.
One of the founders of Elem Group, Russian businessmen Kirill Tulyakov, is also a founder of Streloi E-Kommerts. Procurement records gathered by Clearspending.ru show that Streloi E-Kommerts previously supplied LEDs to the Russian firm Rusalox, a subsidiary of the state tech holding Rusnano, which has participated in Russian military-hardware exhibitions.
Streloi E-Kommerts has not been subjected to Western or Ukrainian sanctions, though Ukraine's National Agency on Corruption Prevention has called for such measures against the firm and its executives.
Western Tech Companies Respond
RFE/RL reached out for comment to several U.S. companies whose components were found in Russian armaments used in Ukraine and had been sent to Russia via Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
Texas Instruments said it halted sales to Russia and Belarus at the end of February 2022 and no longer supports sales there. The Dallas-based tech giant added that it "complies with applicable laws and regulations in the countries where we operate" and does "not support or condone the use of our products in applications for which they weren't designed."
The California-based semiconductor manufacturer Atmel said it does not sell its products to "countries where our technology is prohibited from sale, such as Iran, Belarus, or sanctioned regions in Ukraine." The company added that it condemns "the illegal use of our products."
Atmel's fellow U.S. semiconductor manufacturers Vishay Intertechnology, Xilinx, and Analog Devices did not respond in time for publication, nor did Illinois-based Knowles Electronics, which makes advanced acoustic technology.
Xilinx's parent company, California-based Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), told Reuters that the company "strictly complies" with export regulations and that it had halted sales of its products in Russia, as well as support services there. "That includes requiring all AMD customers and authorized distributors" to cease selling the company's products to Russia, Reuters cited an AMD statement as saying.
In March 2023, ownership of Elem Group was transferred to a Kazakh lawyer named Maksat Artykov, who told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service that he opposes Russia's war in Ukraine and does not believe his firm is helping Russia circumvent sanctions.
"Our products are used all over the place. You can find those goods we import even in your lamp," Artykov said, adding that "everyone" is afraid of possible secondary Western sanctions aimed at stemming the flow of dual-use goods to Russia.
Streloi E-Kommerts did not responded to requests for comment.
A third Kazakh company called Astaris was incorporated within two months of February 2022 and proceeded to ship dual-use technology to a Russian buyer.
From May to September 2022, Astaris, based in the Kazakh capital, Astana, sent dozens of shipments of dual-use Western technology across seven of the nine categories designated as "high priority" by the United States due to their use in Russian armaments recovered from Ukrainian battlefields.
The sole shareholder of Astaris is a Belarusian-born businessman named Aleksandr Skorobogaty, who hung up quickly after RFE/RL asked him via telephone about the Kazakh firm's exports to Russia. Skorobogaty, co-owner of a logistics firm in the western Russian city of Smolensk, responded to an inquiry sent via WhatsApp by saying he "doesn't send anything to Russia or buy anything from there."
The exclusive listed recipient of the Astaris shipments was a company also based in Smolensk called Novaya Elektronnaya Kompaniya, which did not respond to a request for comment on whether this technology was for use by the Russian military.
Reporters were not able to find any link between Novaya Elektronnaya Kompaniya and the Russian military-industrial complex.
But a fourth Kazakh company sending dual-use technology to Russia that RFE/RL identified is affiliated with a large Russian electronics supplier that openly touts its ability to skirt Western sanctions -- and whose shipments appear to have been sent directly from the EU to a Russian company.
The Baltic Bypass
The Kazakh firm Kompaniya Elektroniks was founded in Almaty in June 2015 by Russian affiliates of the prominent Russian electronics and technology supplier ITC, with which the Kazakh firm's directors and shareholders have been affiliated.
Founded in 1992, ITC's own company presentation boasts that the firm has been able to import technology from more than two dozen Western companies since the start of Russia's war in Ukraine. The presentation does not mention the war but notes specifically that these imports came after February 24, 2022 -- the date Putin launched the invasion that the Kremlin insists on calling a "special military operation" rather than a war.
The ITC presentation lists among the company's main clients two Russian state entities under Western sanctions: Elektropribor and Avrora, which Washington says produce navigation systems and other technology for Russian warships. Procurement records show ITC has also supplied Western technology to the Dukhov Automatics Research Institute, which designs nuclear warheads for Russia's arsenal.
Customs databases reviewed by RFE/RL did not show a single export by ITC-affiliated Kompaniya Elektroniks to Russia predating the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine.
But in August 2022, a Latvian cargo company also linked to ITC and based in Riga sent more than 250 shipments of electronics and other products for which ITC was the listed consignee. The listed shipper for these exports was the Riga-based OTK Group "at the request of" ITC's Kazakh affiliate, Kompaniya Elektroniks.
These included 71 shipments of goods subject to EU export controls at the time, including seven containing technology deemed "high-priority" by Washington due to their use by Russia's military, such as Western-made microchips and telecommunications equipment.
Customs records do not indicate that these dual-use electronics ever crossed into Kazakhstan before they were taken into possession by ITC, which held a conference in St. Petersburg in December on the "development of parallel import" and was sanctioned by Ukraine last month.
OTK Group, the Latvian firm that shipped goods "at the request" of Kompaniya Elektroniks, is affiliated with ITC via Russian citizens who have served as its managers and shareholders.
Among OTK Group's other top trading partners are the Russian electronics importers Kvazar and Spetsvoltazh, both of which were sanctioned by the United States in May along with their Estonian-registered supplier, Elmec Trade.
OTK Group's shipments on behalf of the Kazakh firm list both Latvia and Russia as the country of origin, and the "cargo delivery point" as Helsinki, ImportGenius records show.
The current listed shareholder of Kompaniya Elektroniks, Aliya Abisheva, said the company has all the necessary records checked by customs regarding its exports and said her business has nothing to do with Russia's war in Ukraine.
Asked about the company's dual-use exports to Russia, as evidenced by customs records reviewed by RFE/RL, Abisheva said the company exports technology for civilian purposes.
"We have electrical equipment, not military equipment. Why are you confusing everything?" Abisheva told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service.
In a phone call with RFE/RL, OTK Group's sole listed shareholder, Russian-Lithuanian dual national Jan Volk, said his company "cannot send anything to Russia" and promptly hung up. Repeated attempts to reach Volk were unsuccessful. In a Telegram message he asked a reporter to send a formal written inquiry, which RFE/RL did. Volk did not respond.
When an RFE/RL correspondent visited OTK Group's official address in Riga, a reporter found a three-story, brick residential building with no sign indicating the company is located there or of any commercial activity.
ITC did not respond to a request for comment.
To Russia From Central Asia, On Paper Only
While customs records analyzed by RFE/RL show Western dual-use technology being exported to Russia from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, in many cases it is only on paper. In reality, the goods are dropped off in Russia to be collected by the end user before ever reaching Central Asia.
Multiple businesspeople involved in such reexports told RFE/RL how this scheme -- which helps Russia circumvent export controls on Western dual-use electronics -- works.
"The payment goes through our company in Bishkek," a logistics specialist, who identified himself as Andrei, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service. "So the Russians pay in Bishkek. They can pay you. Then you pay us. We have to pay for the logistics and for the goods. And then they receive the goods at a warehouse in Russia without going through Bishkek."
"On paper, it all goes through Bishkek," he added.
Andrei said that in this scheme, the U.S. goods typically arrive in the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda, on the Baltic Sea, and then are moved through the country to Russia.
When an RFE/RL reporter spoke to Andrei in late May without identifying himself as a journalist, the logistician said it would be no problem to bring Western dual-use goods to Russia but that his operation had experienced difficulties with payments in euros.
"Now we are working in [Chinese] yuan. That's why there are delays. But no matter what obstacles they throw our way, we'll still get around them. In short, it just takes a bit longer," he said.
A Kazakh businessman who reexports electronics and other goods to Russia also said his company facilitates direct shipments from Europe to Russia, via Belarus, but with Kazakh paperwork.
"According to the documents, these are the goods that are not intended to remain in Russia," the businessman, who gave his name as Kanat, told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, adding that his firm abides by Kazakh laws.
"The goods don't enter Kazakhstan because if they did the logistical expenses would be high," he said.
Raimonds Zukuls, director of the Latvian National Customs Board, told RFE/RL that customs officials check the paperwork of outgoing shipments but that if everything is in order with the product description and the listed final destination, their hands are somewhat tied.
"If they are going, for example, to Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan, they are going in transit through Russia. And, of course, there can be situations in which these goods are just staying in Russia," Zukuls said.
James Byrne, director of open-source intelligence and analysis at the London-based security and defense think tank RUSI, said it would be impossible to stop all dual-use Western technology from getting into the hands of the Russian military.
Export controls are nonetheless having an impact on the Kremlin's military capabilities, according to Byrne, the lead author of a recent study on the Western technology in Russian armaments.
"What we are going to do is make it much more difficult, make the supply chains longer, make them riskier, make them less certain," Byrne told RFE/RL.
He added that companies and individuals moving such goods to Russian firms without conducting proper due diligence are "very likely going to find themselves targeted [with sanctions] down the line."
With additional reporting by Meiirim Baqytzhan and Asemgul Mukhitqyzy of RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service, and Svetlana Osipova of Systema, RFE/RL's Russian investigative unit.