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Bypassing sanctions: Western companies help Russia build tanks

Bypassing sanctions: Western companies help Russia build tanks Western companies help Russia build tanks (photo: wikimedia)

Despite the sanctions, Western companies continue to cooperate with Russia and help it build tanks. They sell machine tools and components to Russian defense companies, reveals The Insider.


Uralvagonzavod is Russia's largest manufacturer of armored vehicles and equipment. The main tank that rolls off their assembly line is the T-90M Proryv. It is equipped with a Sosna-U gun sight manufactured by the Vologda Optical and Mechanical Plant (VOMZ, which is part of the Rostec holding company).

With reference to public procurement data, the publication claims that the supplier of lathes for VOMZ is Finval, which receives spare parts from the Italian company M.T.S.R.L.

Another supplier of these products to VOMZ, according to media reports, is Pumori-Northwest. In January this year, the company bought a shot blasting machine from Norblast SRL, based in Bologna. This Italian company is also a supplier to the Russian Tactical Missile Arms Corporation.

During the war, Pumori-Northwest also purchased milling machines for metal processing from Devco S.R.L. (Milan).


It is alleged that Baltic firms often provide logistics and transportation services, supplying Russian defense contractors with products from European manufacturers. For example, Gold Solution OU and Leolart transport Italian goods from Tallinn to Pumori-Northwest, while Alekon OU provides warehousing services.


It is noted that a partner of Russian defense suppliers is the German company WTO Werkzeug-Einrichtungen GmbH. It supplies parts for lathes to such companies as Unimatic, TD SMS, and OTS-Technologies, which sell them to Uralvagonzavod and Plant No. 9, which produces barrels for T-72, T-90, and Armata tanks.

South Korea

The publication claims that Seoul-based Mabuchi Korea Corporation supplies lens grinding machines, polishing powder, and other goods to the Ryazan-based NPK Macrooptika (one of Russia's leading manufacturers of optical and mechanical systems for aviation and military equipment).


According to the investigators, another supplier of Makrooptica is the American company Universal Photonics. It provides the Russian company with aluminum oxide and polishing powders needed to produce tank sights.


During the war, the Finnish company Meconet OY reportedly supplied copper tape and parts of semiconductor devices to the Russian company TD Proton-Electroteks. This company is affiliated with Proton, which, in addition to the VOMZ, works for Rostec, Almaz-Antey, and Tactical Missile Arms.


Japanese companies Japan Industrial Trading and Kaga Electronics, according to a media investigation, provide their products (dense rubber seals, cathode foil, and ready-made electrolyte for electrolytic capacitors) to the company Elekond in Udmurtia.

The company is a key player in the Russian military-industrial complex, specializing in the development and production of capacitors. Among its partners is the Vologda Optical and Mechanical Plant.

Circumventing sanctions against Russia

Recently, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved 200 out of about 500 requests for exemptions from anti-Russian sanctions since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

On December 20, Estonia also made about 200 exceptions to the sanctions imposed on Russia.

In early October, it became known that the Canadian government had issued several special permits allowing local companies to circumvent economic sanctions against Russia.