The US hacked a technological network for the Russian military

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Wednesday announced a round of criminal charges and sanctions related to a complex scheme to buy military technology from American manufacturers and illegally ship it to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

According to the Ministry of Justice, some of the equipment was found on battlefields in Ukraine, and other technologies for the development of nuclear weapons were seized in Latvia before being transferred to Russia.

The Justice Department has indicted nearly a dozen people in separate cases in New York and Connecticut, including Russian nationals accused of buying sensitive military technology from American companies and laundering tens of millions of dollars for wealthy Russian businessmen; Latvians are accused of conspiring to deliver equipment to Russia and Venezuelan oil brokers to work in illegal transactions for a Venezuelan state oil company.

“As I said, our investigators and prosecutors will continue their efforts to identify, find and bring to justice those whose illegal actions undermine the rule of law and allow the Russian regime to continue its unjustified aggression against Ukraine.” . Merrick Garland said in a statement.

The five defendants charged in New York are Russian citizens, and two of them have been arrested. The other two are Venezuelan oil brokers.

All four defendants in the Connecticut case – three Latvians and one Ukrainian – were arrested months ago at the request of US authorities.

They are accused of conspiring to ship a high-precision grinding machine manufactured in Connecticut to Russia. The equipment requires a license for export or re-export to Russia.

The criminal charges complete the latest round of sanctions by the Biden administration aimed at Russia.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced sanctions on Wednesday against one of the individuals the Justice Department accused of helping Yuri Orekhov and two of his companies, Nord-Deutsche Industrieanlagenbau GmbH and Opus Energy Trading LLC, buy semiconductors and microprocessors. advances in fighter jets and ballistic and hypersonic missile systems among other military uses.

Orekhov and the companies eventually shipped the materials to Russian end users, including companies designated by various federal agencies, in violation of U.S. export controls. The prosecutor’s office says that Orekhov was arrested in Germany. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

The Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control worked in coordination to identify the Russian network.

Along with sanctions against members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, the US froze the funds of the Russian Central Bank and imposed strict export controls.

The latest effort is aimed at preventing Russia from buying military technology.

U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement Wednesday that Russia “is more likely to acquire the technology it needs to continue the war thanks to unprecedented sanctions and export controls imposed by a broad coalition of our partners and allies.” fights.

“We know these efforts have a direct impact on the battlefield,” he said, “because Russia’s desperation has led them to turn to inferior suppliers and outdated equipment.”

The information of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which was submitted to the Ministry of Finance of Russia on Friday, said that Russia has lost more than 6,000 of its equipment since the beginning of the war in late February and is turning to Iran and North Korea for the supply of goods.

ODNI has said that Russia relies on foreign production equipment and that ongoing banking sanctions have reduced the Kremlin’s ability to obtain financing for military equipment imports.

This version of the story corrects that 11 people were charged, not nine, because the total included oil brokers.

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