Russians forced to use household appliances in military gear because of sanctions, US says

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Ukranian soldiers surveying Russian missiles.   (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Ukranian soldiers surveying Russian missiles. (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

US sanctions against Russia are working so well that Vladimir Putin’s troops are being forced to use computer chips from dishwashers and refrigerators in some of its military equipment, the Biden administration has claimed.

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, told a Senate hearing this week that a ban on technology exports to Russia was now hampering its military on the ground as its unprovoked attack on Ukraine draws on.

“We have reports from Ukrainians that when they find Russian military equipment on the ground, it’s filled with semiconductors that they took out of dishwashers and refrigerators,” Ms Raimondo told the hearing.

Since February, US technology exports to Russia have fallen by 70 per cent. That is important in the context of the country’s invasion of Ukraine particularly because Russia’s military is notoriously reliant on Western technology.

A report from the London-based Conflict Armament Research group found that Russian military drones shot down over Ukraine have been comprised largely of Western electronics and components.

Ms Raimondo reportedly got the dishwasher and refrigerator chips story from Ukranian officials, who said that they have found commerical and industrial machinery in captured Russian tanks.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The US has placed sanctions on the export of technology ranging from semiconductors to lasers to Russia, and other Western nations have sanctioned Russia similarly.

Ms Raimondo said at the Senate hearing that this disruption in trade has shut down production at the plants of two Russian tank manufacturers, Uralvagonzavod Corporation and Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant.

According to the Biden administration, the shutdowns are evidence that the US’s aggressive move to deny Russia access to its technology is paying off.

In addition to directly curtailing American companies’ technological chip exports to Russia, it has also mandated that companies worldwide cease selling to Russia if they use US manfacturing equipment or software in their work.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began more than three months ago, and while Russia has taken some Ukranian territory, Ukranian resistance has prevented it from capturing the capital of Kyiv.

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