Dual-use goods can be used for both military and civilian purposes. Among the recipients of these deliveries from Serbia to Russia is an information technology supplier on which the United States imposed sanctions in September.
A selection of comments, analyzes and reports from foreign media
Customs records from international trade databases analyzed by Radio Free Europe show that since February 2022, Serbian companies have shipped more than $71 million worth of sanctioned dual-use goods to Russia.
Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Washington and Brussels have sought to limit the Kremlin’s access to Western components used in Russian military equipment by pressuring governments to limit the flow of these technologies to Russia through their countries.
Despite calls for Serbia to align its policies with the European Union, Belgrade has maintained close relations with Moscow throughout the conflict and remains one of the few European governments not to impose sanctions on Russia.
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At the same time, last December, President Vučić promised Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi that no one would bypass the sanctions against Russia through the territory of Serbia, adding that his country does not profit from suffering during the war. Vučić’s office did not respond to Radio Free Europe’s request for comment on Serbian supplies of sanctioned dual-use technology to Russia.
A thousand times higher profits
According to journalists, the exports concern goods from tractors to electronics. For example, the Serbian company Kominvex had very modest profits in the hundreds to thousands of dollars until 2021. But that improved significantly the following year, when the firm began exporting electronics to Russia and increased its profits more than a thousandfold to $1.5 million in 2022.
The owner of the company is Serbian citizen Marko Svorcan. He did not answer reporters’ questions about his business.
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Part of Kominvex’s exports to Russia in 2022 included at least $27 million worth of goods made by the American technology giant Intel. The company has repeatedly stated that it strives to ensure that its products do not enter Russia illegally.
The company Intel responded to Radio Free Europe’s inquiry. It said it would limit or stop doing business with partners who might violate anti-Russian sanctions until it is certain Intel products are not being used to violate human rights.
The United States has so far imposed sanctions on only one Serbian company for its role as a supplier of sanctioned dual-use goods to Russia. The US Treasury stated that the company serves as an intermediary for the Russian company.
It is supposed to specialize in the import of foreign semiconductor technologies for Russian entities, some of which also supply goods to the Russian defense industry. So much for Radio Free Europe.
Listen to the full selection of comments, analysis and reports, the audio is at the top of the article.
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