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Russia still importing sniper scopes from U.S. and Europe

Russia still importing sniper scopes from U.S. and Europe Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

In 2022-2023, Russia imported sights worth $173.6 million from Western countries. Some of them are being used in the war against Ukraine, reports the media outlet Important Stories.

Which countries supply sights to Russia

A Russian sniper from the volunteer unit of football fans Espanyol is posing with a rifle in a video by a Belarusian propaganda TV channel.

The outlet specifies that the rifle is equipped with an optical sight from the Austrian company Kahles, which produces goods for hunting and sports shooting.

On YouTube, there are numerous videos where Russian military personnel showcase sights from Western manufacturers:

  • Leupold (USA)
  • Nightforce (USA-Japan)
  • Holosun (USA-China)
  • Swarovski Optik (Austria)

Part of these sights are used in the war against Ukraine

"According to customs data, sights worth 16 billion rubles ($173.6 million) were imported into Russia in 2022-2023," the material writes.

The alleged purpose is the "installation of sights for hunting weapons," but a portion ends up in the war in Ukraine. Among the import champions are the online stores Pointer and Navigator.

A company linked to the former PMC Wagner received Western sights

The article notes that the online store Navigator sold optics, rangefinders, glasses, and other equipment to St. Petersburg-based Technologies.

This company was associated with the former PMC Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.

"The import of sights and other goods 'for hunting' occurs through parallel imports - manufacturers most likely do not know where their products end up," writes Important Stories.

Pointer uses intermediaries in China, while Navigator uses them in Türkiye and Kazakhstan.

Russia circumvents sanctions

Recently, Russia signed a declaration with Iran on resisting sanctions imposed by the US, EU, and several other countries.

Additionally, The New York Times reported that the Russian government and companies collaborated and turned to Morocco and Türkiye to use their ports to evade sanctions against Russia.