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Moscow Acquires Used CNC Machines from China for Arms Production

Moscow Acquires Used CNC Machines from China for Arms Production

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Russia is buying second-hand Japanese Tsugami equipment from China for the production of weapons at its enterprises.

The analysis of these purchases was released by the Washington-based Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS).

According to C4ADS, Moscow is trying to avoid Western sanctions and export control aimed at deterring the Russian military industry.

It is noted that Russian arms manufacturers are “struggling to expand their production capabilities using everything they can get.”

“Moscow even buys old Western-made machines from China, delivered to local factories decades ago,” said C4ADS analyst Allen Maggard.

Дмитро Медвєдєв на підприємстві "Уралвагонзавод"біля корпусу Т-72Б3. 2022 рік. Фото: уряд Росії

A key element of one of the Russian shadow procurement networks identified by the C4ADS was the Moscow company AMG, which has been under sanctions since 2022.

After the outbreak of a full-scale war, this company increased the import of numerical software control (CNC) machine tools from the Japanese manufacturer Tsugami to Russia.

CNC equipment is required for high-precision and high-speed metal processing. AMG purchased machines were received by Comet Corporation, which develops missile systems.

In 2021, AMG bought Tsugami equipment from an official Japanese supplier. The company paid the manufacturer about $600,000.

After the invasion, the volume of purchases rose to $50 million in 2023, with the entire increase coming from two shadow intermediaries.

Intermediaries

The first AMG intermediary is Amegino from the UAE, which is under U.S. sanctions, the site of which was originally located on Russian servers.

The owner of Amegino, according to corporate intelligence company Diligencia, is Andrei Mironov.

The second intermediary is ELE Technology, which bills itself as “a division of [American machine tool distributor] Grey Machinery Company.”

In fact, according to analysts, ELE Technology is based in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. The company currently sells two models of Tsugami machines from 2001 and 2005.

Верстат Tsugami MB-38SY 2001 року, який продає компанія ELE Technology. Фото: ele-tech.com.cn

An expert associated with Tsugami estimated that more than 100,000 machines from the 200,000 machines delivered worldwide were supplied to Chinese enterprises.

Moscow became interested in old Tsugami machines after this Japanese company officially left Russia in 2022.

Another Russian company, UMIC, bought $2.9 million worth of machine tools and parts made in Israel, Japan, Korea, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, according to customs documents.

In all cases, the equipment was delivered from China and purchased using yuan through trading partners in China. Unlike AMG, UMIC was not subject to American sanctions.

Recall that Western countries have imposed a ban on the supply of equipment for military production to Russia after the start of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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