Russia Has Found A Way to Evade the US Sanctions When Selling Russian Arms

MOSCOW, the Russian Federation ( – Russia has found a way to evade the US sanctions when selling russian arms, learned, according to information in business and financial Russian media Vedomosti.

By resolution No. 586 of 10 May the government simplified the procedure for the resale of Russian arms from their primary buyers in third countries. The re-export of Russian weapons was allowed earlier, but so far, the country that received them as second hand had to submit to the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) the same end-user certificate as the “major” importer. In the certificate, the buyer undertakes not to resell the weapon without the permission of Moscow. Thus, the importer officially confirms that he eventually acquired weapon from Russia. Now it will be enough a third party to provide a certificate to the direct supplier and he only to notify Russia that the buyer promises not to transfer the weapon.

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The explanatory note to the document explicitly states that it was caused by anti-Russian sanctions: “Foreign states voice interest in buying Russian military products but, fearing sanctions, refuse to purchase them”. The problem arose after the adoption of the CAATSA law in the United States in August 2017, which provides for the possibility of imposing sanctions on all countries importing Russian weapons. For the first time, such sanctions were imposed by the United States in September 2018 against the Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China and its Director, Li Shangfu, for the purchase of Su-35 fighter aircrafts from Russia and the S-400 missile systems. And exports are the most important component of the Russian defence complex income: from 2013, the annual arms sales amount to 15-16 billion dollars, and by the end of 2018 the procurement amounts reach 55 billion dollars.

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The Russian policy of controlling the users of Russian weapons was tightened after Israeli war with the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in 2005 after the Israeli troops seized the anti-tank complexes “Cornet” previously supplied by Russia to Syria. In 2006, the government issued a decree according to which the FSMTC was entitled to include clauses when concluding contracts for the supply of small arms and light weapons, allowing for checks on the availability of the weapons sold by the buyer.

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According to Konstantin Makienko, an expert at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, the largest buyers of Russian weapons – China, India, Vietnam, Algeria and Egypt – do not need such a scheme. These countries either ignore the US sanctions against the Russian exporters, or seek exceptions for themselves through negotiations with the US authorities. But for smaller countries that are afraid of the US sanctions, sales with re-export mechanisms can be justifiable, the expert believes. This applies mainly to the sale of small arms and light weapons and ammunition. This segment of the Russian arms exports amounts to several hundred million dollars per year and is mostly represented by Sub-Saharan African countries and Latin American countries as well as by small Asian countries, says Makienko.

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Translator editor: Monika Evgenieva
Source: Focus News, Vedomosti