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Western Technology Firms Must Stop Supplying Russia’s War Machine

Western governments have been far too slow to impose restrictions on technology exports to Russia, enabling the country to produce advanced weapons using imported software and microchips. Strengthening these restrictions would benefit not only Ukrainians but also Western taxpayers.

BERKELEY – While media attention has largely shifted to the violence in the Middle East, the fighting in Ukraine continues unabated. In fact, Russia’s recent deployment of advanced hypersonic missiles, coupled with its increasingly effective use of drones, has enabled it to carry out some of the most devastating and deadliest attacks since the start of the war.

Since its forced withdrawal from northern Ukraine in September 2022, Russia has increasingly relied on sophisticated weaponry to boost the effectiveness of its military strikes. Ironically, the advanced technologies currently powering the Russian war machine – and costing Ukraine and its allies billions of dollars in additional defense spending – were sourced from Western firms.

How can we ensure that Western-made software and critical systems do not fall into Russian hands? In two recent papers, published by the Yermak-McFaul International Working Group on Russian Sanctions and based on our earlier report, we argue that much more can and should be done to prevent Russia from gaining access to imported technological components and capabilities, either directly or by closing sanctions loopholes.