Russia uses third-party countries to evade sanctions, says the US and UK
Astana, Apr 25 (EFE).- US and UK representatives on Tuesday accused Russia of evading Western sanctions on military equipment components by using third-party countries, specifically alerting Moscow’s Central Asian ally, Kazakhstan, to the risks involved.
“The Kremlin has tasked its intelligence services with finding ways to do so,” US Treasury Department Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Rosenberg told a conference in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
Rosenberg arrived in Astana with David Reed, representative of the UK Foreign Office, and Matthew Axelrod, Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Commerce, to deliver lectures on compliance with sanctions imposed on Russia for its military campaign in Ukraine.
According to Rosenberg, Russia is “seeking international businesses to work with, often operating through middlemen or creating shell companies to hide their behavior.”
“These shell companies may display suspicious behaviors such as being created very recently to ship critical goods to Russia, having no physical address, or using unusual payment methods such as large cash purchases or routing payments through additional countries,” Rosenberg said.
“In the face of this effort, those of us here today have launched a global push, including with our partners here in Central Asia, to crack down on sanctions evasion and the provision of goods and services for Putin’s war machine,” she said.
Rosenberg said there was a clear choice for Kazakh companies: “They can keep their ties to the world’s most important markets, or they can be active participants in the Russian war effort by facilitating, or turning a blind eye to, the provision of goods that make their way to the battlefield.”
Reed, meanwhile, noted that based on open-source trade information, there are certain spikes in the export of goods sanctioned by the United Kingdom to Kazakhstan and corresponding spikes of these goods in Russia.
“We know that some of these goods reach the war zones in Ukraine. We believe that neither the United Kingdom nor Kazakhstan wants this,” he said.
Axelrod added that “export controls and sanctions have disrupted Russia’s military-industrial supply chains and weapons procurement,” to which Russia responded by seeking alternative routes.
In this regard, he warned that if Western companies producing these types of goods “are unable to verify the compliance of their foreign partners, they may decide to choose to cut off such business.” EFE