US, UK, and EU press UAE to crack down on companies working with Russia – Reuters

The United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union are increasing pressure on the United Arab Emirates to crack down on companies that cooperate with Russia despite sanctions, Reuters reported.

The article states that last week, American, European, and British officials visited the UAE as part of a joint effort to prevent sanctioned goods from entering the Russian Federation.

The West requests from the UAE information on dual-use goods re-exports to Russia

According to the news agency’s sources, representatives of the countries asked the UAE to provide detailed information on exports to Russia as well as re-exports of so-called dual-use goods that can be used in both civilian and military sectors.

At the same time, a representative of the US State Department said that his country’s delegation had arrived in the UAE as part of a long-running dialogue on trends in the supply of goods, especially dual-use goods, that support the Russian defense industry.

According to Reuters, the West is particularly concerned because companies in the United Arab Emirates export computer chips, electronics, machinery, and other sanctioned goods to Russia, which it can use in its war aggression against Ukraine.

The sources also said that UAE officials reiterated their September 2023 promise to introduce export controls that prohibit the export of sanctioned goods. However, they did not provide any evidence of such measures.

US sanctions on UAE-based companies for assisting Russia in sanctions evasion

On April 11, the US Department of Commerce imposed export restrictions on three companies from Russia, six from China, and two from the United Arab Emirates. One of the reasons for this decision is the companies’ involvement in the purchase of components for Shahed attack drones used by Russia in the war against Ukraine.

In December, the US Treasury and State Departments sanctioned more than 250 entities and individuals in China, Turkey, and the UAE for their continuing support for Russia’s war efforts. Washington made another attempt to crack down on Russia and its evasion of sanctions previously imposed by Ukraine’s Western allies.

In January, the UAE-based shipping company Hennesea was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department on January 18 for transporting oil from Russia at prices greater than the $60 per barrel cap that G7 nations had agreed upon. Shortly before the price restrictions took effect, Hennesea purchased older tankers that transported Russian crude oil and petroleum products. Tankers owned by Hennesea have repeatedly entered Russian Federation ports, Reuters reported.

UAE-based companies are also on the new UK sanctions list, adopted in December. Furthermore, the “shadow fleet list” now includes four ship operators from the UAE, who use these ships to transport Moscow’s oil, bypassing sanctions and the oil price cap.

The exports of advanced electronics, semi-conductors, and microchips from the UAE to Russia surged to $1,5 billion (225% vs. 2021 and almost a 20 percent increase vs. 2020), according to the data. The full data for 2023 is still not available on the platform.

In March, media reported that the Russians purchase Starlink terminals through the UAE and Kazakhstan. Starlink terminals cannot be purchased in Russia officially. But as it turned out, many retailers sell them unofficially. The Russians are finding workarounds and supply chains. Ukraine’s military intelligence confirmed that Russian invading troops were using Starlinks in the war zone in Ukraine.

The West aims at closing gateways for Russia to get around sanctions

The US and EU officials demanded that the UAE stop acting as a gateway for Russia to get around the sanctions. The restrictions aim at stopping Moscow’s ability to produce weapons that it uses to bombard Ukrainian cities.

Last autumn, envoys from the US, UK, and EU visited the UAE to discuss their concerns about Russia’s sanctions evasion schemes via the UAE.

Ukraine’s allies want to prevent Russia from using countries such as Kazakhstan, Turkey, and the UAE to import high-end electronics and high-precision components that Russia’s is using for weapons production and cannot develop domestically.

Russia has been able to evade Western sanctions by redirecting banned goods via third countries such as the UAE, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and some other nations that have not introduced sanctions themselves.

In recent months, the US and the EU have stepped up their efforts to combat sanctions circumvention against Russia in order to supply components that Moscow uses to manufacture weapons and strengthen its military capabilities at the front.

Halting the supply of war-related items to Russia is crucial to dismantling Putin’s war machine. Otherwise, it will offset the West’s military and financial aid to Ukraine and encourage the Putin regime to launch new aggressions, likely against European NATO members.

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