Top Countries Whose Businesses Help Russia Dodge Sanctions: An Annual Review by OSINT Agency Molfar

When we think about Russia's secret allies, certain countries like China, Kazakhstan, and Iran immediately come to mind. But would it surprise you to find Germany or the U.S.A. among these countries? It turns out that in the bastions of global democracy, there are businesses that find it more profitable to support the Russians.

This article is based on OSINT investigations by Molfar, which were published on the website from May 2023 to May 2024.

Czech Republic. A Branch of the Manufacturer of X-55, X-59 Missiles 

The Smolensk Aviation Plant is part of the Russian state corporation "Tactical Missiles Corporation." This corporation also includes the "Raduga" design bureau, which develops cruise missiles and is the primary customer for missile production at the Smolensk Aviation Plant.

ALSO READ:
Kh101, Kh555, Kh69: Where does Russia make its missiles?

In 2010, the SmAZ plant and the aircraft manufacturer PRAGUE Avia established a company in the Czech Republic —CONSUL group of companies s.r.o. The plant was likely sanctioned for cooperating with Russia.

There is also information about the Czech company "Aerotech Service S.R.O." They supplied products to Russia for the repair of "AI-24" aircraft engines, with the last known shipments during 2020 - 2021 (12).

SmAZ has contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense until 2025. Their parent corporation, "Tactical Missiles Corporation," is the primary customer. Due to an increase in the order portfolio, the plant plans to expand to 4,300 employees by 2024.

Slovakia: Silicon, Drills, Visas — To Russia

Sergey Stupar acts as Russia's "trade representative" in Slovakia. He actively "promotes the development" of economic cooperation. Specifically, in 2022, Stupar attended a meeting (12)  with representatives from SILK ROAD Slovakia s.r.o., which deals with mineral fuels. They discussed the possibilities of trade between Slovakia and Russia, considering the "current economic conditions," i.e., the sanctions and the war that Russia waged against Ukraine.

This is one of Stupar's achievements. In the summer of 2022, he negotiated with representatives of Slovakian businesses, discussing the production development in Russia and participation in Russian exhibition events in 2022.

In the fall of 2022, Sergey Stupar arranged a visa to Russia for Andrej Danko (F.B.), the head of the Slovak National Party. He is the only E.U. politician who attended the military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2019.

ALSO READ:
Behind Diplomatic Facades: Global Threat of Russian Spies

Sergey Stupar also actively assists in linking Slovakian business with Russia. In October 2022, the chief editor of the publication "Dimenzie," Robert Matejovic, approached Stupar with a request to facilitate Slovak investors who intend to invest in a project for producing silicon ingots. The project involves setting up production in the village of Cinobana, where there is an industrial park. The estimated investment amount is about €4 million.

Turkey: Supplying F.P.V. and Helicopter Parts to Russians

After the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Turkey tried to balance between Putin and civilization. Initially, they supported Ukraine — mainly by providing humanitarian aid and Bayraktar-TB2 drones. Turkish representatives even openly called the Russian invasion a "war." At the same time, Russians used Turkey as a critical intermediary for trading engines and components for aircraft and helicopters. Previously, the enterprise "Motor Sich" was involved in this scheme. In October 2022, the SBU detained the head of "Motor Sich," Vyacheslav Boguslaev, for collaborationism, and his assets, valued at $1 billion, were seized.

ALSO READ:
'Motor Sich' world tour: how Boguslaev kept trading with Russia via Turkey and other countries

Boguslaev's enterprise effectively used Turkey as an intermediary in resales: companies from Turkey ordered engines and other components, which were then sold to Russian firms. This includes companies like "Thk Gokcen Havacilik Ikt. Isl. Ve Mgi Defence Uluslararasi Tic. Ltd. Sti."

July-September 2022: "Motor Sich" delivered four TV3-117VM engines to Turkey, used in Mi-28, Mi-8MT, and Mi-17 helicopters. These engines were then sold to the Russian firm A.O. "UTair Helicopter Services."

November-December 2022: eight transactions were made where "Thk Gokcen Havacilik Ikt. Isl. Ve Mgi Defence" sold used TV3-117VM engines and auxiliary AI-9V engines intended for installation on civilian helicopters of the Mi-8AMT models to A.O. "UTair Helicopter Services."

India, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan: Parts for the "Kometa"

It has been discovered that the Indian company "Si2 Microsystems Pvt Ltd" is used as an intermediary for importing satellite navigation components into Russia. These components, manufactured in Ireland, the U.S.A., and Japan, can be used in "Orlan" reconnaissance drones deployed against Ukraine.

Orlan-30 Exhibition Model
The "Orlan-30" drone can have the "Kometa-M" antenna array. Source: Wikipedia

Products from the Swiss company U-Blox are used in Russian drones. L.L.C. Ultran EC (under sanctions in Ukraine) is Russia's largest importer of U-BLOX products.

ALSO READ:
"Kometa": Russian Antenna Grid Bypassing Ukrainian E.W. and International Sanctions

In October 2022, components from the Taiwanese manufacturer "Cirocomm" were found in the "Cometa-M" antenna, which the Ukrainian military discovered in the reconnaissance drone "Orlan-10". According to the markings, some parts were manufactured from May 2-8, 2022.

Thus, there are facts of cooperation with Russia by companies from various countries — India, Japan, Switzerland, and Taiwan — read the details in the article.

U.S.A. and U.K.: Supplying Raw Materials to Russia

Russian shopping centers are being transformed into factories to produce UAVs such as "Lancet" and "Shakhed." The company in this field is Zala Aero Grouppart of the "Kalashnikov Concern." According to Molfar's research, the Russians have repurposed several shopping centers to meet UAV production needs, including "Italmas" in Izhevsk, which is now used as manufacturing workshops. The research also revealed that businesses from some countries, which are unequivocal allies of Ukraine in its confrontation with Russia, are helping Russia increase its armaments.

For example, "Allied Mineral Products," a company from the U.S.A., supplies components to Russia, including materials for producing microelectronics and high-speed microchips. Such microchips could potentially be used in UAVs like "Lancet" and other military equipment.

"Allied Mineral Products" also has a division in China. Through this division, plates, sheets, and strips of agglomerated mica were imported into Russia. These plates, made in the United Kingdom, can be used, in particular, in the production of complex electronics, such as the same "Lancet" or "Shakhed" drones.

Or, for instance, "Mineral Manufacturing" — one of the exporters of mullite. This material can also be used in the production of microelectronics.

Exporter company name

Transaction date

Product

Country of Origin

Possible Use

Allied Mineral Products Tianjin Co Ltd (China)

20.02.2023;

09.03.2023;

24.03.2023;

03.04.2023;

23.05.2023;

23.06.2023;

12.07.2023;

31.07.2023

Plates, sheets, and strips of agglomerated or reconstructed mica, whether backed

United Kingdom

Mica can produce engines, generators, transformers, capacitors, and resistors.

31.08.2022;

03.11.202201.12.2022;

10.03.2023;

23.06.2023;

28.07.2023;

31.07.2023

 

Mica

China

The substrate material made of mullite ceramic has low dielectric permeability, a low coefficient of thermal expansion, and good strength, making it suitable for use in high-speed microelectronics.

Allied Mineral Products (USA)

07.06.2022

Mica

USA

It can be used in the production of high-speed microelectronics.

Mineral Manufacturing (USA)

07.07.2022

Mica

USA

It can be used in the production of high-speed microelectronics.

Mirena Mineralien Erz (Germany)

20.04.2022

Mica

Germany

It can be used in the production of high-speed microelectronics.

Allied Mineral Products Europe B.V. (Netherlands)

07.07.2022;

04.08.202218.10.2022;

08.11.2022;

04.08.2023

Sheets made of agglomerated or reconstructed mica.

United Kingdom

Mica can produce engines, generators, transformers, capacitors, and resistors.

11.08.2022;

08.12.2022;

08.12.2022;

05.04.2023;

25.04.2023;

06.07.2023

Mica

USA

It can be used in the production of high-speed microelectronics microchips.

See the full version of the table in the article

ALSO READ: 
How Russians Manufacture "Shaheds" and "Lancets" in Shopping Malls: Exposing the Family of the Chief Constructor

During 2022-2023, supplies from these companies in the U.S.A. to Russia were recorded. Clearly, the Russians have long-term plans. Producing "Shakhed" and "Lancet" drones is significant for Russia.

Germany. Space startup from Russia

"Exolaunch" is a German company specializing in the launch of microsatellites, typically used for data collection, Earth observation, scientific research, and communications.

Although the company is based in Germany, most of its executives are from Russia and have close ties with Russian state structures.

For example, Jeanne Allarie (born Zhanna Medvedeva) is the Vice President of Spacecraft Launch Services. Born in Krasnoyarsk, she has been working at Exolaunch since 2018. From 2013 to 2018, she worked at Glavkosmos, where she was responsible for Russian-Chinese cooperation in civilian space.

In the fall of 2022, she vacationed in Nepal exclusively with Russians: children of Russian deputies and members of pro-Kremlin parties, heads of sanctioned companies, for instance, with Natalia Osman (Inst), a Russian journalist, the daughter of a military officer, and the wife of Murad Osman (Inst), who was also on this trip. Murad Osman's father likely ran for office twice from the pro-Kremlin party "Fair Russia" (справедливая россия). She also vacationed with Ekaterina Kononenko (Inst), a Russian film producer, clip maker, and co-founder of the "Hoodyakov Production" studio. Clients of this studio include Grigory Leps (we have already talked about him in this investigation), Dzhigan, Philip Kirkorov, Timati, and the state airline "Aeroflot."

Leaders of "Exolaunch" conceal their Russian origins, for instance, changing their surnames and calling themselves E.U. citizens, as in the case of Jeanne Medvedeva becoming Jeanne Allarie.

The company actively collaborates with Roscosmos through its subsidiary, Glavkosmos. Molfar's investigation also indicates that some Exolaunch employees have connections with Russian propagandists, children, and relatives of deputies of the party "United Russia."

ALSO READ: 
Is "Exolaunch" a branch of Roscosmos masquerading as a German space startup?

This close collaboration with Russia may threaten the security and interests of the European Union and Ukraine. Thus, Russians may bypass sanctions and gain access to E.U. information.

Dmitry Bogdanov, the head of Exolaunch, stated in 2017 that Exolaunch and Glavkosmos created the infrastructure for developing microsatellites at Russian universities. They also signed contracts to purchase satellites on the Soyuz rockets over 2-3 years. All partners in this collaboration are Russian companies.

Exolaunch last sent satellites via Russian "Soyuz" rockets in 2020. Since then, they have only collaborated with SpaceX and Rocket Lab. However, Exolaunch is still listed as a partner of Glavkosmos.

U.A.E.: Supplying Starlink and "Motor Sich" Engines to Russia

One of the supply channels for Starlink to Russia runs through the U.A.E., as confirmed by intercepted conversations of the occupiers. This was also confirmed by a specialist working at the Top Machines store as part of a HUMINT operation by Molfar. The store's Telegram channel has connections with Dubai. Another Russian store, DJI Russia, also has connections in Dubai through Telegram (12 3). Both stores are subscribed to a group that sends parcels from the U.A.E. to Russia (12).

ALSO READ: 
Can You Buy Starlink in Russia? Conversations with Russian Sellers

Thanks to such channels, Russians appear to have set up the sale of Starlinks. In February 2024, there was information that Russian occupation forces were using Starlink on Ukrainian territory. At the same time, the Ukrainian military complained about problems with the stability and speed of the Internet from Starlink.

Top Machines is one of the stores selling Starlinks in Russia. Their website states that they have been selling "Starlink in stock for SVO" for a year and a half and provide a "lifetime" warranty on the equipment and account (if there are no "hits" to the terminal itself).

Returning to "Motor Sich," several companies in the U.A.E. cooperate with Russia. For instance, "Kaleidoscope FZE" supplied parts to the "Ural Civil Aviation Plant" (Уральский завод гражданской авиацииУЗГА). This concerns parts for "TV3-117" engines produced by "Motor Sich" (12).

The company "Linker F.Z.E.supplies parts for TV3-117VM engines to "Avia-FED-Service." The latest supply at the time of the investigation was dated 07.03.2023. They exported a part for a civil aircraft, but the IL-76TD is a civilian modification of a heavy military transport aircraft.

Another company, "M.S.B. Helicopter F.Z.E.," was involved in supplying A.O. "Borysfen," L.L.C. "Aerotechserevis-branch." They sold parts of D-18T engines AT "Borysfen" (A.O. "Borysfen") to Russians. The latest sales during the investigation were recorded in 2021-2022.

ALSO READ:
'Motor Sich' world tour: how Boguslaev kept trading with Russia via Turkey and other countries

Kazakhstan: Starlink and Re-export to Russia

It's likely that Russians are purchasing Starlinks through Kazakhstan for use in their war against Ukraine. One method is for Russians to set up enterprises in another country and register a company there. This newly established company then buys the required goods on order and re-exports them to Russia.

ALSO READ:
Microchips for the war against Ukraine: how Russia bypasses sanctions with the help of Kazakhstan?

The issue of re-exporting goods through Kazakhstan still needs to be solved. In May 2022, Samsung phones intended for the Kazakh market appeared in Russian retail stores. Additionally, in June, the Samsung T.V. factory in Kaluga partially resumed operations. Still, the produced goods were destined only for export to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and other countries.

In July, MacBooks imported from Kazakhstan via parallel import appeared in the network stores of "M.Video," re: Store, Wildberries, and "Svyaznoy."

The Molfar team previously researched companies through which Russia imported the most significant quantities of goods into its territory. Here are some of them:

Infographic Examples of Potential Parallel Imports through Kazakhstan to Russia
 

Iran: Collaboration and "Shaheds"

At the end of January, Iran signed a 20-year cooperation agreement with Russia, which includes joint activities in the oil and gas extraction sector. Russia will now have priority in developing Iran's oil and gas fields.

ALSO READ: 
43 employees of "Shahed" production in Alabuga: Molfar publishing the deanon

Alabuga is a special economic zone in Tatarstan, Russia, about 10 kilometers from Yelabuga. According to a publication, as of March 2022, 33 enterprises were operating there, with about 20 more in the planning or construction stages. Some of these productions included institutes where future employees are supposed to be trained. After Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, when sanctions were imposed on the aggressor country, everything changed. "Alabuga" is key to Russia's plans to create more drones.

This was likely created as part of the cooperation between Iran and Russia. Iran was building these factories for Russia, transferring information about the entire construction and production cycle.

China: F.P.V. and Spare Parts

Cooperation between Russia and China manifests in various aspects, such as the supply of drones and their parts. The Russian company Vostok may be using Chinese drones. It is pretty likely that they painted Chinese drones and labeled them "Scalpels."

Співпраця між росією та Китаєм виявляється у різних аспектах. Наприклад, у постачанні дронів та деталей до них. російська компанія "Восток" може використовувати китайські дрони. Цілком ймовірно, що вони фарбують китайські дрони, та клеять на них назву "Скальпель". 

ALSO READ:
Behind the "Scalpel" UAV: Unmasking the Truth of "Vostok" Design Bureau's Latest Project - Real Deal or Cardboard Mock-Up?

Evidence That Drones Are Painted on the Inside
Painted foam (or wooden) drones

In this photo, it can be seen that the interior part of the drone is a different color. The drone is likely made of wood or foam. In the photo, they are placed on foam boards produced by the company "Penoplex Fondament."

On June 9, 2023, the commander of the aerial reconnaissance group "Birds of Magyar"—Robert "Magyar" Brovdi—published a video showing Russians using drones produced by "iFlight. "Magyar called on the E.U. and the U.S.A. to impose sanctions on this company.

iFlight Drones from Russian Military Videos
Screenshots from a video by Russian military personnel. The image shows the “iFlight” company logo on the drone.

iFlight is a Chinese manufacturer and supplier of drones and F.P.V. components. The company focuses on developing innovative solutions in aerial photography. According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, as of February 2023, drones from iFlight Technology Company Limited continued to be supplied to the Russian armed forces.

ALSO READ:  
China's method of avoiding sanctions by supplying drones to Russia: schemes, legal entities, and training centers

The civilized world condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Sanctions imposed by many countries aimed to isolate Russia from the global economy, limiting its political and military activities. In 2022, such unity seemed to quickly end Putin's aggression. However, after two years of full-scale war, it became clear that certain businesses had sided with Putin. They continue to help Russia circumvent sanctions. Sometimes, these are entire countries, sometimes individual companies and business people. In any case, Russia has managed to create a whole web around itself. If this continues, the world will lose the opportunity to restore security and stability. This requires decisive actions. Stricter sanctions and enforcement of these sanctions to end cooperation with the aggressor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Global #analytics #Ties with russia
Contact us