How Russia is circumventing Western sanctions and rebuilding supply chains

How to circumvent Western sanctions imposed on Russia? Using countless lorries, usually coming from Turkey via Georgia and by road through the Caucasus – this is how Western goods reach the Russian market. According to a study by TBC Capital, the volume of goods transit between Turkey and Russia tripled in the first six months of 2022, with most cars using Georgian roads. Armenia and Azerbaijan are other logistical channels between Russia and the outside world that have helped Russia navigate the economic storm caused by the invasion of Ukraine.

According to Silverado Policy Accelerator, a Washington-based think tank, despite the sanctions, Russia still has access to key dual-use technologies – civilian and military – such as semiconductors. This is partly thanks to China and Hong Kong. Imports into Russia have increased, as have supply chains of consumer goods such as smartphones, household appliances and cars, as the country adjusts to sanctions to isolate it from the global financial system. Between August and October last year, total imports to Russia were only 1% lower than in the same period in 2019.

US authorities have found that some Chinese companies are supplying non-lethal weapons to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine and providing economic support. The US has warned the Chinese government of the consequences if China supplies Russia with weapons to use against Ukraine.

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