MOSCOW, RUSSIA (TEH) – The Biden administration is poised to ratchet up economic countermeasures against Kyrgyzstan, in a move aimed at curtailing the illicit transit of sanctioned goods to Russia, as reported by anonymous officials in a Washington Post exposé.
The forthcoming restrictions, expected to be ratified this week, come in response to a marked uptick in the number of Kyrgyzstani firms engaged primarily in commerce with Russia. This heightened activity, involving the sale of sanctioned items manufactured in China and Europe, includes diverse products ranging from drones and aircraft components to advanced bomb electronics and precision optical devices, as per a high-ranking source.
As one seasoned insider divulged to the newspaper, “Kyrgyzstan, although small compared to other countries, is a clear example of how all factors simultaneously play a role in creating an unacceptably conducive environment for sanctions to be waived.”
The Washington Post report reveals trade documentation that shows a staggering 250% surge in exports from Kyrgyzstan to Russia in 2022. Interestingly, some goods, such as optical sights, had never been part of Kyrgyzstan’s export roster to Russia. The documents underscore that in February and March, Kyrgyz firms acquired considerable amounts of delicate electronics, including semiconductors and voltage amplifiers, from China and South Korea. Concurrently, an equivalent volume of similar electronic goods made its way from Kyrgyzstan to Russia, as corroborated by commercial paperwork.
In response to these allegations, the Kyrgyz embassy in Washington stressed its commitment to uphold international regulations and staunchly combat smuggling and other forms of illicit trade. The embassy attributes the trade boom with Russia to the progression of electronic systems, which monitor goods flowing across the country’s frontiers.
Acknowledging instances of sanctions breaches, the embassy underscored that detractors have overlooked the “real economic context”. In an official statement, the embassy noted, “Kyrgyzstan and Russia are members of the Eurasian Economic Union, and Russia in general is one of our main trading partners.”
In May 2023, the U.S. government slapped sanctions on 71 companies hailing from Russia, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan, all deemed to be bolstering the Russian military-industrial complex. Tro.Ya, a firm supplying electronic, navigation equipment, and telecommunication components from Kyrgyz companies, was included in the list.
Ahead of this development, the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister, Jeenbek Kulubaev, avowed that Bishkek perceives no impediments to cooperation with Russia, reports Russian TASS, indicating that the nation’s interests supersede the threat of secondary sanctions from the West. This forthcoming intensification of U.S. economic measures is therefore destined to test Bishkek’s unwavering stance towards its alliance with Moscow.