US warns European nations about Russian efforts to circumvent sanctions

To stop Moscow from circumventing sanctions, a senior US sanctions official is warning European nations about Russian efforts to purchase certain items that are subject to restrictions.

This week, Brian Nelson, the under-secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, is meeting with government representatives, financial institutions, and other enterprises while traveling to Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and Germany.

According to a document that has been given to partner nations and was seen by Reuters, the Treasury Department is advising during the visits that Washington believes Russia is using evasive methods to acquire more than a dozen different types of goods, including electronic components, optics, and manufacturing equipment.

These products include, among others, lasers, signal generators, video camera recorders, processors, and controllers.

Before Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Elizabeth Rosenberg’s trip to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan the following week, Nelson’s visit comes as Washington strives to crack down on Russia’s sanctions evasion.

Washington has previously expressed alarm about Kazakhstan efforts to circumvent sanctions.

The memo states that the Treasury is also describing the warning signs financial institutions should look out for when attempting to spot Russian procurement networks during this week’s inspections.

These comprise bids from firms with minimal prior experience and little to no online presence, frequent or impromptu changes to end users or payees, and firms operating in the electronics or machinery sectors in transshipment countries.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago, the United States and its allies, particularly the European Union and the United Kingdom, have increased pressure on Russia.

Previously, we wrote that Russia purchases Western technologies necessary for the war via Armenia. According to one document bearing the seal of the United States Bureau of Industry and Security, Armenia purchased 515% more chips and processors from the United States and 212% more from the European Union in 2022 than in 2021. According to the document, Armenia shipped 97% of those identical products to Russia.

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