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ICYMI: Blumenthal Chairs Hearing on U.S. Technology Fueling Russia's War in Ukraine

Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations seeks additional information from the Commerce Department on how U.S. microchips continue to be found in Russian weapons systems despite sanctions and export controls

[WASHINGTON, DC] – In case you missed it, last week on Tuesday, February 26, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) raised significant concerns regarding the prevalence of American-manufactured microchips in Russian weapons systems during a hearing he chaired in the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) titled “The U.S. Technology Fueling Russia’s War in Ukraine: How and Why.”

“The Russians are relying on American technology,” Blumenthal said. “Our sanctions system is a sieve. Our export control regime is lethally ineffective. And something has to be done.”

During the hearing, Blumenthal entered into the record documents that he had received directly from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during their meeting last week in Lviv, Ukraine. The documents include a listing of components found in missiles commonly used by the Russian military to kill Ukrainians on the battlefield. Of the components listed, 41 percent were made by the four American companies subject to the Subcommittee’s inquiry and their subsidiaries.

“President Zelenskyy told me how cutting off Russian supply of these components is crucial to Ukraine’s defense,” Blumenthal said. “Russia's success in its efforts to evade export controls can be seen in the very weapons recovered on the battlefield. And I am appalled that American technology breakthroughs are sustaining Russian belligerence. We opened this inquiry last year in order to understand this absolutely astonishing and appalling pattern.”

On Tuesday, PSI sought additional information from the Department of Commerce about what more is needed to bolster export controls, and why current efforts to prevent U.S. technology from reaching Russia are falling short. The text of the letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo is available here.

The hearing followed the Subcommittee’s release of new data as part of its ongoing inquiry into how American technology continues to be found in Russian weapons systems, despite export controls implemented since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago. The Subcommittee’s preliminary findings showed that exports by Intel, Analog Devices, AMD, and Texas Instruments to five countries neighboring Russia that have been previously identified as potentially used by Russia to evade export controls have increased substantially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.  For example, combined exports to Turkey increased from 14,523,007 in 2021 to 31,574,164 in 2022. Exports to Kazakhstan increased nearly 1,000 times in the same period, from 1,936 to 1,918,771.

Blumenthal’s full opening remarks are available for download here.