German Authorities Arrest Supplier of Components for Russian Drones
Law enforcement in Germany has apprehended a German-Russian businessman under suspicion of supplying components for Russian drones.
According to an Associated Press report, Waldemar W., based in Germany, allegedly provided parts to Russia that were used in the production of the "Orlan-10" drones, which are utilized in Ukraine.
The German prosecutor's office disclosed that the suspect, who held dual citizenship, managed two companies in the Saarland federal state in western Germany that dealt with electronic components.
Between January 2020 and March 2023, these companies reportedly executed 26 shipments worth a total of 715,000 euros, with the ultimate recipient being a Russian company engaged in military technology manufacturing, including "Orlan" drones.
"These components are integral to these drones and are on the list of items banned for export to Russia," stated the prosecutor's office.
Waldemar W.'s companies imported the necessary components and subsequently forwarded them to Russia via a company under his control, registered in the Baden-Württemberg state. Two dummy Russian firms received these components, which were then handed over to the "Orlan" drone manufacturer, as agreed upon with the accused.
After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Waldemar V. allegedly started using dummy companies in Dubai and Lithuania to deliver components to Russia, according to the prosecutor's statement.
In an investigation conducted by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the "Orlan-10" drone was dubbed the "most successful" Russian-produced unmanned aerial vehicle, extensively employed by the Russian military. The drone can transmit targets for various combat vehicles, serve as artillery fire spotter, and engage in electronic warfare.
Previously, it came to light that Russia could be supplying aircraft parts through Russians with relatives abroad.
As reported by The Gaze, customs documents scrutinized by investigative journalists revealed that components were reaching Russia through intermediaries in countries such as Tajikistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, China, and Kyrgyzstan—none of which have endorsed Western sanctions against Russia.
Overall, since May 2022 when most trading and export restrictions to the US and Europe came into effect, Russian airlines have received aviation spare parts worth at least 1.2 billion dollars by the end of June this year.
Recall that the 11th package of sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) against the Russian Federation includes a ban on the export of 87 new dual-use goods companies, as well as goods that "could contribute to Russia's military-technical improvement." The list of export-restricted items has also been expanded to include electronic components and chemical weapons precursors.