Skip to content

Russian Arms Makers Escaping Sanctions

Sanctions on Russia’s arms companies and tycoons have been applied inconsistently by the U.S., UK and EU, as the Western allies fail to coordinate actions against makers of banned weapons.

Russian PKK Rifle Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
Russian PKK Rifle, Photo by: Mstyslav Chernov

As Russia’s military continues to pound Ukraine with missiles and other lethal weapons, Western nations have responded in part by targeting Russia’s defense industry with sanctions. The latest round came on Tuesday when the United States issued new sanctions on some arms makers and executives at the heart of what it dubbed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “war machine."

But a Reuters examination of companies, executives, and investors underpinning Russia's defense sector shows a sizable number of players have yet to pay a price: Nearly three dozen leaders of Russian weapons firms and at least 14 defense companies have not been sanctioned by the United States, the European Union or the United Kingdom. In addition, sanctions on Russia’s arms makers and tycoons have been applied inconsistently by these NATO allies, with some governments levying penalties and others not, the Reuters review showed.