Russia is trying, but failing, to circumvent Western sanctions on high-tech goods for its military and energy sector and is struggling to get international funding, US State Department sanctions coordinator James O’Brien said today.
Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan and Britain have imposed a raft of sanctions on Moscow since its invasion of Ukraine in February, blocking its access to its own foreign reserves, financial markets and advanced Western technology, for to limit the Kremlin’s ability to finance the war.
“We see that the sanctions are working,” O’Brien told reporters during a visit to Brussels where he held talks with European officials. “We know Russia is trying to get equipment and funding. We don’t think they’re doing a good job.”
“We’re largely seeing a substitution with lower quality products: consumer electronics being used for military-grade targeting and communications equipment,” he said. “If they want to try to use them for a purpose they’re not intended for, that’s great, do-it-yourself, but that’s no way to run a modern armed conflict or an economy.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the West’s economic “blitzkrieg” has failed, although he admitted damage has been done to his $1.8 trillion economy.
Some EU officials worry that China or India could help Moscow circumvent sanctions by selling dual-use equipment that could be used for military purposes, but O’Brien said Russia had tried and failed to acquire such equipment in this way.
“Russia is now in a situation where it has to buy from unknown suppliers at uncertain prices and acquire equipment of unknown quality. There is no way a modern economy can function on this basis,” he said.
He also said Western countries would seek to increase pressure on Moscow in the coming months, closing potential loopholes in the sanctions regime and putting particular emphasis on the “choke points” of the Russian economy.
I am Derek Black, an author of World Stock Market. I have a degree in creative writing and journalism from the University of Central Florida. I have a passion for writing and informing the public. I strive to be accurate and fair in my reporting, and to provide a voice for those who may not otherwise be heard.