Lithuania, a frontrunner against Russian aggression, is a gateway for sanctioned shipments to Russia

The Baltic country was used to export 130-million-euro-worth of dual-use goods to the aggressor since the start of the war.

Since the onset of the Ukraine invasion in February 2022, Lithuania has served as a conduit for the transit of dual-use goods valued at least 130 million euros to Russia, a new investigation shows. 

These shipments – including sensitive technology – involved Lithuanian companies and passed mainly through former Soviet countries in Asia, which are friendly to Moscow.

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The findings by the LRT Investigation Team were published in April and are embarrassing for the Vilnius government, which is a staunch supporter of Ukraine and a backer of severe sanctions on Russia. One of examples is a company co-owned by Visvaldas Matijošaitis, mayor of Kaunas – Lithuania’s second largest city, which exported sanctioned items that can be used to manufacture weapons and defense systems.

The company’s name is Plungės Kooperatinė Prekyba and it is one of more than 70 Lithuania-based companies that have taken part in supplying the Russians with items that are banned for export to Russia by the European Union and the United States.

Among the Lithuanian companies that participated in the exports were electronics and car parts traders, logistics companies, customs brokers. Some companies are owned by ethnic Russians, as is the case of Zetemžėja, a Klaipėda-based transport service provider. Its exports to the Russian market increased significantly during the first year of war but its owner Konstantin Samarskov had failed to submit the 2022 financial reports to the tax authority.

The export schemes also involve buyers from Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and China, which in reality are just transit points, given that these countries are not under E.U. or U.S. sanctions.

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The items found by the investigators include bearings, signal generators, monitoring and measuring instruments, machine tools, processors and controllers, integrated circuits and microchips, capacitors, antennas, radio navigation devices, electric devices or components, semiconductors.

Most of these end up in Russian missiles, drones, and tanks.

The LRT Investigation Team’s report is based on analysis of the customs data aggregator ImportGenius up to August 2023.

After that period, tougher restrictions were introduced both at the level of the E.U. and of Lithuania.

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