Russia is trying, but failing, to bypass them western sanctions for high-tech goods for military purposes and its energy sector and is struggling to obtain international financing, the US State Department’s sanctions coordinator says James O’Brien.
Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan and Britain have imposed a raft of sanctions on Moscow since its invasion of Ukraine in February, blocking its access to its own foreign reserves, financial markets and advanced Western technology, for to limit the Kremlin’s ability to finance the war.
“We see that the sanctions are working,” O’Brien told reporters during a visit to Brussels, where he held talks with European officials. “We know Russia is trying to get equipment and funding. We don’t think he’s doing well,” he said.
“We’re largely seeing a substitution with lower quality products: Consumer electronics being used for military-grade targeting and communications equipment,” he said. “If they want to try to use them for a purpose they’re not intended for, that’s great, do-it-yourself, but that’s no way to run a modern armed conflict or an economy,” he said. .
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the West’s economic “blitzkrieg” has failed, although he admitted that his country’s economy has been damaged by $1.8 trillion.
Some EU officials are concerned that the China or the India they could help Moscow to circumvent the sanctionsselling dual-use equipment that could be used for military purposes, but O’Brien said Russia has tried and failed to obtain such equipment that way.
“Russia is now in a situation where it has to buy from unknown suppliers at uncertain prices and acquire equipment of unknown quality. There is no way a modern economy can function on that basis,” he said.
He also noted that Western countries will seek to increase pressure on Moscow in the coming months, closing potential loopholes in the sanctions regime and putting particular emphasis on the “choke points” of the Russian economy.