A Russian spy network has stolen key technology from EU firms to fuel Vladimir Putin’s conflict in Ukraine.
A Financial Times investigation discovered that the network, which was established up to buy commodities ranging from microchips to weapons, was able to obtain machine tools from Germany and Finland despite US sanctions imposed in March 2022.
The procurement cell’s continued capacity to operate in Europe demonstrates the difficulties that Western governments have in attempting to suffocate Russia’s military-industrial complex’s supply of crucial equipment.
The US Department of Justice has accused the “Serniya network” of engaging on “highly sensitive and classified procurement activities” on behalf of Russia’s FSB espionage agency, notably its Directorate for Scientific and Technological Intelligence, colloquially known as “Directorate T.”
Other clients include the Kremlin’s Foreign Intelligence Service, known as the SVR; the state-owned defense giant Rostec; Russia’s Ministry of Defence; and Rosatom, the country’s nuclear energy corporation.
According to the Financial Times, a Russian firm managed by the same individual who runs a Serniya network entity defined by the US as “engaged in proliferation activities at the direction of Russian intelligence services” has continued to purchase things from EU companies.
Trading House Treydtuls, registered to an address in an industrial estate in north Moscow, has acquired $900,000 in materials since the Ukraine war began, including microchips and items for industrial manufacturing, mostly from the EU, according to corporate records, import declarations, and interviews.