June 19, 2024

The U.S. government imposed fresh sanctions on five Russian and 11 Chinese companies for their role in supplying drone technology components used in Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported on Sept. 25.

Russia’s SMT-iLogic and China’s Asia Pacific Links Ltd. are among the firms that allegedly provided the blacklisted Special Technology Center, a Russian defense technology firm, with drone components intended for Russia’s military intelligence operations, according to Reuters.

A 2022 investigation led by Reuters revealed a sophisticated global logistics operation eventually ending at the Orlan drone’s production line, the Special Technology Center in St. Petersburg. Hong Kong-based exporter Asia Pacific Links Ltd. had been among the most important suppliers to Russia’s drone program, the investigation found.

“We will not hesitate to take swift and meaningful action against those who continue seeking to supply and support Putin’s illegal and immoral war in Ukraine,” said trade official Alan Estevez in a statement to Reuters.

Russia’s Special Technology Center in St. Petersburg was first targeted by U.S. sanctions by former President Barack Obama for its involvement in influencing the 2016 presidential election.

The U.S. Commerce Department operates a trade blacklist known as the entity list to identify and target Chinese and Russian tech firms supporting Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Read also: Deadly drone arms race intensifies as Ukraine, Russia embrace the future of war

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