Kyrgyzstan Denies Helping Russia Bypass Sanctions

Kyrgyzstan on Thursday denied helping its ally Moscow circumvent sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine, but did not rule out the involvement of private companies.

The Central Asian country, which has close political, economic, and military ties with Russia, is suspected of exporting dual-use electronic components that Moscow can use for military purposes.

Kyrgyzstan’s security agency said that “neither the Kyrgyz state itself nor any state structures and companies are involved in the violation of the regime of compliance with sanctions imposed by the United States and Western countries on Russia.”

But it admitted the “possible involvement of private companies,” saying they may have violated sanctions while “possibly not knowing who the end consumer and user of their supplied products may be.”

It added that it has launched an investigation “aimed at establishing and stopping such activities.”

Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Akylbek Zhaparov said “measures will be taken in the future so that sanctioned goods do not cross our border and, moreover, do not go where there are sanctions.”

The overall volume of Kyrgyzstan’s exports to Russia was up a whopping 145 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to Kyrgyz customs.

Local media meanwhile recently reported that 14 Chinese drones of a model used for agriculture were seized near Kyrgyzstan’s border with neighboring Kazakhstan, saying they were bound for Russia.

But Kyrgyzstan’s ministry of economy said Wednesday it was a matter of “export control violation.”

US and EU diplomats have in recent months visited countries in Central Asia, where Russia remains the main regional power, warning of possible secondary sanctions to curb the use of trade loopholes.

A Kyrgyz company was recently sanctioned by Washington and two others based in Uzbekistan have been blacklisted by the European Union.

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