“So Russia bought ammunition from the USA and Europe”

The large amount of ammunition that the Russian army continues to use is a major concern for Ukraine. Kiev demanded and received a greater commitment from Europe to procure this military material crucial to the fate of the war. But as the Brussels and EU governments set aside 1 billion euros for the Ukrainian military to triple production and stockpiles, a journalistic investigation casts a heavy shadow on the risks of the ammunition market. As a matter of fact, according to the information revealed by the Politico newspaper, Russia would continue to purchase high-precision bullets from Western suppliers.

cartridges for hunting

The investigation was launched with a video posted on Telegram on May 16 praising the Orsis T-5000 of a sniper from the Russian mercenary group Wagner. The gun is produced in Russia by the company Promtekhnologiya. But the sniper says in the video that the ammunition is “Western-made .338 caliber.” If what he claims is true, how was it possible to get these bullets into the hands of fearsome mercenaries? “Documents obtained by Politico show that another Russian company called Promtekhnologiya and Tetis purchased hundreds of thousands of bullets manufactured by Hornady of the USA,” the newspaper writes.

Promtekhnologiya is one of the Western-sanctioned Russian companies, which means it cannot do business with US or European companies. But according to documents obtained by Politico, including a “declaration of conformity” submitted to a Russian government register dated August 12, 2022, months after the start of the conflict, Promtekhnologiya said it plans to procure 102,200 Hornady bullets. installation of “hunting cartridges”. These are the 338 rounds that Wagner’s sniper mentioned in his Telegram video. There are doubts that the Russian company has managed to circumvent Western sanctions, with the supply being recorded as a purchase of supplies for hunting enthusiasts.

How to bypass fines

Hornady executives swear that they stopped their supplies to Moscow on the day the war started: “We categorically don’t export anything to Russia, and we haven’t been authorized to export to Russia since 2014,” the manager replied to Politico. The company is managed by Steve Hornady. “We do not support the sale of our product to any Russian son of a bitch, and if we can find out how they are buying it, if they are indeed buying it, we will take all available measures to stop it,” he added.

In fact, the crux of the problem may be this: Russia has found ways to procure ammo from Western factories using intermediaries that evade sanctions. Politico says the need to rely on bullets made in the USA or Europe is due to two reasons: “If Russia can produce good small arms like the Orsis rifle,” Politico explains. The amount of ammunition necessary for an army fighting on a front stretching for hundreds of kilometers”. In addition, the quality of Western products is much higher than Russian ammunition and guarantees an accuracy that can be fundamental to the outcome of battles.

Europe’s role

Politico’s investigation revealed that other US ammunition from RCBS is available on the Russian market. And he found that Promtekhnologiya will always be supplied with 338 shells, through Valerian, a Slovenian company founded with a starting capital of 7,500 euros on the eve of the war in Ukraine: Valerian, despite its small size, would supply 460,000 units of “Orsis hunting cartridges” to the Russian society. ” aspect. Like? Valerian, who was not allowed to export to Russia, was allowed to trade with Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic on good terms with Moscow. During its search, Politico also found statements from many other Russian companies regarding ammunition made in Germany, Finland and Turkey.

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Source: Today IT