Despite harsh Western sanctions, microchips from Dutch companies still find their way to Russia. They are shipped there through Chinese intermediaries, according to a journalistic investigation by NOS and Nieuwsuur.
The journalists stressed that these were “many millions” of microchips, which were supplied to the Russian Federation from the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine until December.
According to the journalists, the exports were carried out through intermediaries – for example, several hundred shipments were sent to three Russian companies associated with defense enterprises. Chips from the Netherlands were found in Russian weapons.
Journalists gained access to sales data, talked to the companies concerned, government agencies, experts, and researchers, and gained access to confidential documents.
Schemes used Chinese companies to purchase chips in the Netherlands and ship to Russia
The story alleges that there is a clear pattern in which a small group of Chinese companies purchases chips in the Netherlands and exports them month after month to Russia. Despite the tightening of sanctions, there has been no decrease in exports in recent months.
The chips supplied to Russia are mainly made by large manufacturers, like NXP and Nexperia. NXP chips were recently found in a disassembled Russian armored howitzer, a cruise missile, and an attack helicopter.
Also, chips from NXP and Nexperia were found in Russian drones, and an NXP chip was found in an Iranian kamikaze drone. Russian troops use these drones to bombard energy infrastructure in Ukraine.
The companies state that they comply with sanctions rules and do not do business with Russia. Their customers are also banned from selling chips in Russia.
However, the Chinese companies note that they are powerless if the chips that NXP and Nexperia produce in multibillion-dollar quantities worldwide each year end up in Russia as a result of parallel trade.