Denník N

Exports from Slovakia can help Russia in war against Ukraine

Ruské nákladné vozidlo Ural zničené ukrajinskou armádou. Foto - ukrajinská armáda
Ruské nákladné vozidlo Ural zničené ukrajinskou armádou. Foto – ukrajinská armáda

Thousands of items used in the production of tanks, tyres, and engines have been shipped to companies with ties to the Russian military since the start of the Russian invasion.

In early October, an Iranian-made Mohajer-6 drone used by the Russian military crashed near the Ukrainian port of Odessa. It contained a Rotax 912 engine, but its Austrian producer immediately denied shipping it to Iran or Russia.

Denník N has now found that a similar engine was exported to Iran in April by a Slovak manufacturer of light aircraft.

And there are many more cases. Denník N has a list of thousands of items, which can be used for the production of heavy weapons that have been sent to Russia and Iran since the start of the war in Ukraine. They include bearings, engines, electronics, and machinery used in the production of tyre components and can be used in the production of tanks, armoured vehicles, missile systems, or intercontinental ballistic missile carriers.

Many exports were delivered to Russian companies, which act as subsidiaries to the arms industry.

The list of exported products does not include the names of exporters, and they can include entities from other EU countries.

Slovakia is a member of EU and NATO, and has supported Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion. It has provided its eastern neighbour various military equipment, including the S-300 air-defense system.

Slovak prime minister Eduard Heger in April in Bucha, Ukraine. Photo – Eduard Heger’s Facebook

The transactions can represent a breach of EU sanctions. The Slovak customs authorities probably did not classify the exports as dual-use items that can be used for both civil and military purposes. Those require the approvals of the ministries of economy and foreign affairs before being shipped abroad, which were not granted in these instances.Slovak customs officials claim they proceeded according to rules and cannot influence whether the deliveries are used by the Russian military.

Sources from neighbouring Czech Republic say that their government takes a much stricter approach to evaluating similar exports, which are subject to detailed scrutiny. „It’s a security hole and Slovakia is the weak link,“ says a source involved in exports approvals in Czech Republic.

Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď called the exports problematic and promised to take appropriate measures. „Our goal is to stop, if possible, any undesired indirect support for the aggressive war of Russia,“ said the office of Prime Minister Eduard Heger.

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