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US Authorities Are Preparing to Impose Sanctions on Kyrgyzstan for Helping Russia Bypass Restrictions

The US authorities are preparing to impose sanctions on Kyrgyzstan for helping Russia to circumvent the restrictions imposed on it by Western countries, writes The Washington Post, citing US presidential administration officials.

According to the interlocutors of the publication, sanctions against Kyrgyzstan may be introduced before the end of July.

WP writes that according to open documents, the volume of exports from Kyrgyzstan to Russia increased by 250 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year. The documents also show that companies from Kyrgyzstan are buying electronics, including specialized semiconductors and voltage amplifiers, from Chinese and South Korean companies and then transferring them to Russia, including for use in the defense industry. Such supply chains point to the involvement of Russian intelligence agencies working to circumvent sanctions.

The Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Washington, in response to a request for comment by the publication, said that the country’s authorities adhere to international standards and stop smuggling and other types of illegal trade. The sharp increase in exports, according to the diplomatic mission, may be partly due to the improvement of electronic systems for tracking goods. But there are cases of sanctions violations, the embassy admits, but they ask critics to take into account the real economic context.

“Kyrgyzstan and Russia are members of the Eurasian Economic Union, and in general Russia is one of our main trading partners. More than a million of our citizens work in Russia,” the WP said in response to a request.

Kazakh Trade Minister Serik Zhumangarin, who is also accused of helping the Russian Federation to circumvent sanctions, previously confirmed the supply of dual-use goods to Russia that can be used for military purposes. According to him, the country is “working with this” and assured that companies that transport items such as microcircuits are under increased control: special electronic invoices and format and logistics control have been introduced.

Earlier, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe found that Kyrgyz and Kazakh companies are supplying dual-use technology to Kremlin-linked Russian firms, despite Western attempts to block such supplies.

In response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States and the European Union tightened controls on the export to Russia of technologies that can be used not only for civilian but also for military purposes.

However, Russia uses schemes for the supply of Western technologies through states not limited by these sanctions, including Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Both of these countries are members of the Eurasian Economic Union under the auspices of Moscow.