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iStories: Russia circumvents sanctions by buying drones and microchips via Kazakhstan

Source: Meduza

According to a joint investigation by iStories, Der Spiegel and the OCCRP, Russia has been making monthly purchases of drones and microchips via Kazakhstan worth millions of dollars, in order to bypass sanctions.

The investigation found that the Kazakh company Aspan Arba, which was founded after the start of the full-scale invasion, has been one of the biggest suppliers of drones to Russia. The company supplies drones to the Russian company Sky Mechanics, which it sells to buyers such as the Kamchatka Regional Council of War and Labor Veterans, as well as on Ozon, an online marketplace used by Russian soldiers, says the report.

According to the investigation, the Kazakh company Da Group 22 buys German microchips, which it sells to the Russian company Stek. They are then imported for use by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Foreign Intelligence Service, and Defense Ministry.

The investigation discovered that the import of microchip components from Kazakhstan more than doubled after the start of the war, from $35 million to $75 million dollars.

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