The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it had charged five Russian and two Venezuelan nationals with violating U.S. sanctions, claiming that they had purchased military technology from manufacturers in the United States and shipped it to Russia for use in the country’s ongoing war against Ukraine.
The U.S. government accused two Russians, Yury Orekhov and Svetlana Kuzurgasheva, of buying dual-use electronic components such as semiconductors, radars, and satellites and sending them to Russia via a German company, according to a statement released by the Brooklyn prosecutors’ office. The statement claimed that some U.S. technology had been incorporated into Russian weapons platforms captured by the Ukrainian military. Two others on the indictment list, Timofey Telegin and Sergey Tulyakov, owned companies within Russia that allegedly received the shipments and transferred them to the Russian government.
Orekhov was arrested in Germany on Monday, according to Reuters. The fifth Russian accused of wrongdoing, Artem Uss, was arrested in Italy, and the Justice Department has requested his extradition. In its statement, it claimed that Orekhov and Uss had also conspired with Juan Fernando Serrano and Juan Carlos Soto, two Venezuelan oil merchants, to illegally sell Venezuelan oil to buyers in Russia and China.
“We will continue to investigate, disrupt and prosecute those who fuel Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, evade sanctions and perpetuate the shadowy economy of transnational money laundering,” Breon Peace, the district attorney for New York’s Eastern District, said in the statement.
Concurrently with the Justice Department’s filing of charges, the Treasury Department announced on Wednesday that it had sanctioned Orekhov and two Germany-based companies he controlled, Nord-Deutsche Industrieanlagenbau GmbH (NDA) and Opus Energy Trading LLC. A Treasury statement claimed that both companies had been used to export sensitive dual-use technology from the United States to Russia, violating existing U.S. export controls. In reference to his role in facilitating the shipments, Orenkhov was described as a “procurement agent” for the Russian government.
“We know these efforts are having a direct effect on the battlefield,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo claimed in the Treasury statement. Adeyemo observed that Russia’s lack of access to domestic and legitimately-imported Western technology had “led them to turn to inferior suppliers and outdated equipment” to make up for the shortfall—a development apparent in Russia’s struggles against the Ukrainian military during the nearly eight-month conflict.
In a separate indictment, federal prosecutors in Connecticut formally charged three Latvian and Ukrainian citizens with attempting to send a “jig grinder,” a computer-controlled grinding machine with military applications, to Russia in violation of U.S. export controls.
Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer for the National Interest.