US takes another step to stem the flow of technology to Russia for weapons

By Thomson Reuters Mar 28, 2024 | 7:01 PM

By Karen Freifeld

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. is asking American companies to stop shipping goods to more than 600 foreign parties over fears the items could be diverted to Russia for use in its invasion of Ukraine, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

The Commerce Department sent letters in recent weeks to at least 20 companies with the warning, the latest effort to stymie the Russia war effort in Ukraine, a U.S. Commerce Department official said.

The companies make and sell products found in missiles and drones recovered inside Ukraine.

Since Moscow invaded Russia in 2022, the U.S. and a more than 30 other countries have put in place a raft of sanctions aimed at degrading Russia’s ability to wage its war by cutting off access to Western technology. Yet American components continue to be found in Russian weapons left on the battlefield in Ukraine.

“In the last several weeks, we’ve sent letters to more than 20 American companies, each containing a list of more than 600 foreign parties,” Assistant Secretary Matthew Axelrod said at the department’s annual export control conference in Washington, D.C. “In those letters, we’ve requested that the American companies voluntarily stop shipping to these parties due to the high risk of transshipment to Russia.”

Axelrod said senior U.S. officials in the Commerce, State and Treasury departments have also been reaching out directly to senior leaders in U.S. companies to discuss further steps they can take to help prevent their products from ending up inside Russia.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; additional reporting by Alexandra Alper in Washington; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)