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Russia procures T-72 tank parts from Japan and Taiwan despite sanctions, Nikkei

Russia procures T-72 tank parts from Japan and Taiwan despite sanctions, Nikkei Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The Russian arms manufacturer imports components for tanks produced in Japan and Taiwan, utilizing a company in China for this purpose, reports Nikkei.

According to the material, an individual associated with the Belarusian government opened a company in China after February 2022, and the Russian arms manufacturer continued to import parts through China.

"The information reveals that sanctions aimed at Russia's munitions industry are not functioning effectively, due to trades through a third country. U.S. and British authorities are aware of the situation and are expected to tighten the sanctions," the material writes.

The company in question is Shenzhen 5G High-Tech Innovation in China's Guangdong province. It began purchasing precision parts for engines, sensors, and other equipment necessary for the production of tanks and other weapons.

Components were purchased through a company in Belarus

Among the parts acquired by Shenzhen 5G are components manufactured by Japanese companies Metrol and Oriental Motor. Shenzhen 5G is believed to have acquired spare parts from other Chinese companies.

The acquired components were then sent to Belarusian arms manufacturers SALEO and the Laboratory of Additive Technologies. All these structures are under the control of Alexander Lukashenko's regime.

In May 2023, sensor components manufactured by Metrol were exported to SALEO at a price of 16,035 yuan (approximately 2,228 dollars) per unit.

Later, the components are sent to Russia

Belarusian and Russian arms enterprises produce key components for tanks using precision instruments purchased from Asia by SALEO.

They are sent to the Russian tank manufacturer Uralvagonzavod for the production of T-72, T-90, and other main Russian tanks.

Reaction of companies in Japan

Metrol stated it has never entered into direct agreements with Shenzhen 5G and may request clients not to resell its sensors to Shenzhen 5G, potentially ceasing supply if they refuse to cooperate.

Oriental Motor also informed Nikkei that it does not engage in direct agreements with Shenzhen 5G and stated it strictly complies with export control laws.

Russia may continue to circumvent sanctions

The US and the UK recently announced that Shenzhen 5G was used to circumvent sanctions and restrictions may soon be imposed on it.

"But as Russia is seen as certain to set up another dummy company in a third country, it will be extremely difficult to shut down all supply routes for restricted high-tech goods," the material notes.

Increased sanctions against Russia

The United States today, February 23, imposed a massive package of sanctions against Russia for its military aggression in Ukraine. Hundreds of legal entities have been targeted.

Additionally, the European Union, as part of the 13th package of sanctions against Russia, has imposed restrictions on a number of governors, officials in occupied territories, and representatives of the DPRK.