Kyiv says components including microchips supplied for civilian purposes are sent to Russia through countries such as China


Dan Sabbagh

14 June 2023

The Guardian


Western microchips and other components coming largely via China are being used to manufacture Russian cruise and ballistic missiles that are being launched at Ukraine, Kyiv has said in a presentation prepared for G7 members this week.

The document, leaked to the Guardian, calls for the world’s leading economies to “pressure countries who fail to act decisively”, without naming Beijing directly, as well as a plea to further tighten export controls.

Russia, Kyiv says, “has adapted to sanctions” and will produce 1,061 missiles this year, more than double the 512 that the country’s arms manufacturers made in 2022, the first year of its full invasion of Ukraine.

The document argues that with the help of China and others, western components have been found in Kh-101 and Kalibr cruise missiles as well as Iskander and the Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missiles.

On Tuesday, at least 11 were killed in a Russian missile attack that struck an apartment block in the southern city of Kryvyi Rih, while on Wednesday at least three were killed in the port city of Odesa in what local authorities said was a cruise missile strike.

Ukraine estimates that 1,734 civilian casualties – dead and wounded – have been caused by missile strikes alone since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022, with the aggressors launching 6,000 missiles that struck 3,387 civilian targets.

Ukraine continues to press for tighter coordinated sanctions to target Russia and in this case is lobbying for G7 members to implement tighter restrictions aimed at the country’s missile manufacturers. Diplomatic sources said the latest paper was circulating earlier this week.

An analysis of the missile fragments reveals that Russia is making use of a range of microprocessors, principally from US firms, which are supplied for civilian purposes but then re-exported through third countries to Moscow.

Chips from Integrated Device Technology and Altera have been found in a Kh-101 cruise missile, while processors from Texas Instruments and Cypress Semiconductor appear in the sea-launched Kalibr. Iskander and Kinzhal both feature microchips from Xilinx, the document adds.

Ukraine’s research estimates that 80% of Russian missile components by value came from China in January and February, though it is unclear how this calculation is obtained. Thailand is the next largest exporter, on 5.5%, while other significant countries include Turkey, Maldives and the UAE.

Kyiv says it wants to “stop missile terror” and urges that western governments impose sanctions on all Russian missile production companies and tighten end-user controls, to preventing components exported for civilian purposes ending up in missiles or other military kits. It also says some western materials, such as adhesives, are used in Russian missile production.