Ukraine Asks Germany to Halt Machinery Headed for Russia

(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s anti-corruption watchdog wrote to German authorities and a Bavarian-based company seeking to halt the delivery to Russia of high-end machinery used by ammunition manufacturers.

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The National Agency on Corruption Prevention in Kyiv informed the German government that a so-called CNC machine manufactured by Spinner Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik GmbH is en route to a plant in Russia from Turkey, according to letters seen by Bloomberg News and people familiar with the matter. The equipment is due to arrive later this month.

The CNC machine, which uses computer-operated tools to make precision instruments, is required to produce high-explosive fragmentation projectiles used by Russian forces in Ukraine, the documents say.

“It goes without saying that once the machine reaches Russia, there will be little we can do to prevent its use for military purposes by Russia: time is of the essence,” the agency wrote.

The Ukrainian demand underscores concerns that Russia has worked around European Union sanctions to import banned equipment used for military purposes via countries such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

The machine’s journey — from Istanbul to a Russian port on the northeastern shores of the Black Sea, which Bloomberg was unable to independently verify — lays bare the challenges EU authorities face in enforcing restrictions on Russia designed to weaken its defense capabilities.

German Engineering

Ukraine’s NACP also wrote to Spinner. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing or awareness on the part of the company that its products would end up in Russia. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The CNC machine was loaded onto a truck in Turkey on Aug. 30, in preparation to be transported via ferry to a port on the northeastern shores of the Black Sea — and from there will go to the Serov Mechanical Plant JSC in Russia, the documents say.

The Russian ammunition manufacturer is associated with Rostec, the state-owned defense conglomerate that’s a under a raft of European and US sanctions.

The importer was identified as Yumak LLC, a Russian company that’s a regular supplier of several sanctioned entities involved in the production of ammunition, projectiles as well as other components used by tanks and Russia Su and MiG fighter jets, according to the documents.

Germany’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Controls, which is tasked with enforcing sanctions, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

German manufacturers like Spinner are known for their precision engineering — and there are many producers of high-quality CNC machines based in Europe’s largest economy. The machines are used in the defense industry for high-volume production of ammunition including bullets and artillery projectiles.

Other equipment produced by the company has made its way to Russia in the past from third parties and third countries, according to people familiar with the deliveries. There is no suggestion of any direct shipments from Germany, the people said.

--With assistance from William Wilkes.

(Updates with past deliveries in final paragraph. A previous version of the story corrected to clarify full name of company in second paragraph, subhead.)

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