Finnish Companies Allegedly Supplying Defense Components to Russia, Investigation Reveals

Written by Jeppe W

Jan.15 - 2024 2:20 PM CET

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A recent investigation by public broadcaster Yle has uncovered that approximately 20 Finnish companies are allegedly involved in exporting components and equipment to Russia, which are being used in the defense industry.

This report, detailed by European Pravda, raises concerns about the circumvention of international sanctions imposed on Russia.

The investigation, conducted by journalists from the Yle investigative project, revealed that these companies, mostly small logistics firms with connections to Russia, are based primarily in southeastern Finland, near large logistics hubs.

One such company, located in the Lappeenranta area, reportedly supplied sensors, diesel engines, fuel pumps, and gearbox components to Russia, according to customs data.

Notably, similar Western components have been identified in Russian military equipment destroyed in Ukraine, although not all these items fall under the current Western sanctions. Public procurement data from Russia indicates that at least nine of the Finnish companies' clients have ties to either the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) or the Russian defense industry.

Moreover, the investigation highlighted instances of exporting various optical and electronic equipment to Russia, either directly or through Finnish intermediaries. There are also reports of such equipment being supplied to Uzbekistan, potentially as a method to indirectly sell sanctioned goods to Russia.

Despite the gravity of these findings, the proportion of sensitive equipment from these Finnish companies used in Russian military hardware remains unclear. In response to inquiries, several company officials declined to comment openly, while some off-the-record statements denied any violation of sanctions or knowledge of their products being used in the Russian defense industry.

The investigation further uncovered that at least four of the implicated companies are currently involved in criminal proceedings. Two of these were sanctioned by the United States in fall 2023 after their exported components were found in Russian drones. Additionally, the owner of one company, a French citizen residing in Finland, is reportedly under arrest on suspicion of violating sanctions.

This revelation poses significant questions about the enforcement and effectiveness of international sanctions against Russia and highlights the complexities of global supply chains in enforcing such measures.

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