WASHINGTON — The export control regime imposed by the West on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine is undermining Moscow’s ability to continue the war, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said Tuesday, hitting the nail on the head. intelligence capabilities of the Kremlin and the land, air and sea power of the country.
The United States and its allies say export bans on a wide range of sensitive and advanced technologies, as well as other products and parts that Russia relies on, are aimed at degrading Moscow’s ability to project power .
The Biden administration says it will take time for Russia to fully feel the effects of export controls, such as those targeting the sale of computer chips and jet engine components. But US officials say they also see immediate effects on Russian military might.
US Treasury Assistant Secretary Wally Adeyemo said two of Russia’s biggest tank makers had to halt production because they couldn’t get the necessary parts.
One of Russia’s few producers of semiconductor chips – computer components essential to nearly every economic sector – also had to halt production, said Matthew Axelrod, the U.S. Commerce Department’s assistant secretary for anti-corruption. exports. Parts shortages have affected production of Elbrus chips made by the government-funded SPARC Technologies Moscow center, Axelrod said, referring to technology used by Russia’s military and intelligence services.
“We are going to see additional impacts on the battlefield as the Russian aerospace industry and the Russian maritime industry are not able to source the parts they need to fly their planes, their submarines moving and their boats sailing,” the assistant secretary said.
These effects will compound over time, Axelrod said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Risk and Compliance Forum, especially as Washington’s allies synchronize their export control regimes, step up application and that Russia is carrying out raids on national stocks and the ability to cannibalize parts. decreases. The assistant secretary, who oversees Commerce’s enforcement arm, the Bureau of Industry and Security, said his office has launched several investigations into possible export control violations.
But he said there were few signs that other countries like China and India were making up for lost exports even if they did not join the West’s pressure campaign against the Russia. Citing a Wall Street Journal report on Monday showing China’s plummeting tech exports to Russia, he said the risk of losing access to the world’s biggest economies has so far proved a deterrent to foreign companies compensating for losses of imports from Moscow.
“We haven’t seen any significant evidence of escape yet, but of course we’re looking carefully,” Axelrod said.
While the Biden administration says it already has some of its strongest tools of economic coercion in place, the top law enforcement official said more export controls are coming, pointing to the broadening of Monday’s bans to include a wider range of commercial and industrial operations, including timber. products and construction machinery. Western allies, in addition to harming Russia’s military capabilities, also seek to undermine the country’s economic growth to deprive Moscow of the funding needed to fund its armed forces, intelligence services and other overseas operations.
Now, Western allies are increasingly working to close loopholes in their sanctions and export regimes by warning companies and penalizing companies that violate bans and help Russia.
The United States has already detained 187 shipments destined for Russia and its ally Belarus for goods valued at more than $77 million, Axelrod said. His office has also launched an outreach campaign to companies that public business records show have already shipped newly screened items to Russia, contacting more than 400 companies so far.
And the Bureau of Industry and Security has also opened several investigations in which federal investigators believe there may have been export control violations, he said without giving further details.