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Kazakhstan Bans Export of Military Products, Drones, and Electronics to Russia

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Kazakhstan Bans Export of Military Products, Drones, and Electronics to Russia

Last year, Kazakhstan drastically increased export of goods to Russia: electronic chips alone started flowing 300 times faster; but since 2023 spring, the country adopted a new course toward blockade of military goods influx into the Russian Federation

Kazakhstan has been a convenient platform for Russia's implementing so-called "parallel import" for a while but now declared a ban on exporting military use products and some others that potentially can be used as such, for example, drones.

"It's 106 various products. We completely restricted exporting them. Those are military-use goods. For instance, drones, internal components, specialized electronics, chips, and similar products," said Kairat Torebayev, Deputy Minister of Trade and integration of Kazakhstan, as quoted by Zakon.

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Illustrative photo: checkpoint on the state border of Kazakhstan
Illustrative photo: checkpoint on the state border of Kazakhstan / Photo credit: State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan

This is not the first time Astana limits its involvement in russian "parallel import" schemes. The authorities announced measures to prevent trade of "gray goods" in March 2023.

Later in April, the director of the Russian GruzAvtoTrans association Vladimir Matyagin said Kazakhstan had already closed the border for certain products. It resulted in alternative routes laid through China, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

Next, in May, there were reports of Kazakhstan customs seizing civilian remotely controlled copters that were heading to the Russian Federation. For example, 14 DJI Agras T30 drones allegedly intended for a construction company, were put up for auction of confiscated products.

Although this drone was originally designed to help in agriculture, in a warzone it can carry out reconnaissance and drop explosives on the enemy. Payload capacity is enough to lift mortar shells.

DJI Agras T30 hexacopter / Photo credit: DJI

Nevertheless, it's still too soon to consider it a total blockade. At least because one of the methods to illegally bring goods into the Russian Federation is via an extremely simple scheme, when the goods are ordered in Kazakhstan, transit through the territory of Russia, but simply do not reach the destination. This mechanism was recorded in the case of automobiles from Finland.

Anyway, even partial restriction of free re-export imposed by the Kazakhstan government will be a powerful tool to cut down the capabilities of the russian defense industry and army fighting in Ukraine. Especially in light of the fact Russia has been reliant on those exports: in 2022, Russian imports from Kazakhstan grew by 25%, including the 300 times increase in electronic components – up to 3.7 mln in total worth last year.

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