Russia Using U.S. Equipment in Ukraine: Report

Soldier standing on a mountain looking at a shadow of a blury war planes passing overhead. Freedom. soldier concept

( – Despite sanctions from both the United States and the European Union, Russian soldiers are still getting their hands on military equipped manufactured in the west.

Important Stories, an investigative news site based in Russia, has highlighted several instances on YouTube of Russian soldiers using Western equipment with their weaponry. In one example, a Russian soldier mentions that the scope on his rifle is made by Leupold & Stevens, Inc., an American manufacturer based in Beaverton, Oregon. Another video shows a sniper using a scope with a Nightforce logo, a company that is based in Lavonia, Georgia. Other videos show Russian snipers using scopes by Holosun, which are made in California, and Swarovski Optik, which are manufactured in Austria.

According to Russian customs data, approximately 16 billion rubles ($173 million USD) worth of scopes for rifles were imported to Russia from 2022 to 2023. While the imports were clearly marked for hunting use and not to be used for military purposes, it seems clear that these imports have been diverted to military use. Important Stories was quick to note that the manufacturers appear to be following all relevant laws, and they likely are unaware of where or how their gear ends up being used.

Other reports indicate that military equipment manufactured in the US is being sold legally and then being resold to Russian defense forces without the original manufacturer’s knowledge. Some have suggested that US manufacturers should be required to install geolocation tags on their equipment and set them to automatically stop working if they enter prohibited spaces, such as Russia. If doing that is impossible, geolocation tags would at least allow manufacturers and the government to track where weapons and equipment are being sent.

Back in May of last year, John Kirby, the spokesperson for the American National Security Council reiterated the point that equipment manufactured in the United States was not meant to be used for military attacks inside Russia after reports emerged that American-made equipment was being used in Russia.

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