Russia continues to receive CNC machines from Europe

16:50, 29.03.2024

European manufacturers of machinery continue to contribute to Russian aggression against Ukraine. Equipment ends up in the hands of the Russian military-industrial complex, although the routes of these deliveries and the involvement of the actual manufacturers remain questionable. Russia utilizes CNC and CMM equipment for the production of Iskander missiles, as highlighted in the ESCU study referenced by News Insight. Approximately 70% of all CNC machinery in Russia is imported, with 80% of all machines ending up in the possession of the Russian military industry. 

Russian 4-ton nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander missiles are manufactured using CNC and CMM equipment. Since the onset of the war, Russia has been launching Iskander missiles at Ukrainian cities. On the evening of March 21, Russian forces fired Iskander missiles at Kyiv, resulting in casualties and destruction. A day earlier, a Russian missile struck Kharkiv, killing at least five civilians and injuring seven. 

CNC machines are considered dual-use items, with both civilian and military applications. For instance, CNC machines can be used for precise manufacturing across various industries, but they are also crucial for producing missile components. The EU regulates the export of dual-use items to Russia, but the final decision lies with individual member states. This creates loopholes exploited by Russia through intermediaries and hidden financial transactions. 

For example, the Russian company "ODK-Saturn," which is under sanctions, manufactures engines for military aircraft. Despite sanctions, the company continues to operate, utilizing European CNC machines. Evidence suggests that these machines are procured through undisclosed channels, possibly involving companies in other countries. 

The consequences of such situations are devastating. Thousands of missiles and drones, created using European technologies, are raining down on Ukrainian soil, causing immense civilian casualties and extensive destruction. 

The EU is taking steps to address this issue. New regulations emphasize the prohibition of re-exportation, which exporters must include in purchase agreements after the 12th round of sanctions. Additionally, strict adherence to existing sanctions and increased scrutiny of technology sales are paramount. 

Companies providing goods with potential military applications to Russia must be held accountable. Sanctions should be enforced more rigorously, and sales of modern technology and machinery should undergo scrutiny. Only through strict enforcement of sanctions and thwarting Moscow's attempts to circumvent them can sufficient pressure be exerted on the Russian economy to compel it to end the war against Ukraine and cease weapons production. 

Failure to strengthen sanctions will significantly undermine the effectiveness of military aid to Ukraine. Moreover, continued weapons production by Russia will escalate the conflict closer to EU borders and provoke further aggression from the Kremlin, potentially targeting NATO and European countries. Russian missiles, created with European technologies, have the ability to target cities within the European Union if Russia initiates a conflict against European nations, as they constantly discuss.