Although China is the most serious long-term threat to U.S. national security, Russia remains a capable adversary. Moscow poses a multidimensional and serious threat to the United States and its NATO allies.

During the Ukraine war, the United States led an international coalition of more than 40 countries supporting Kiev. Meanwhile, Russia has continued its efforts to steal Western technology.

A Latvian arms broker has now been arrested and charged with attempting to sell advanced avionics equipment to the Russian defense and aerospace industry in violation of U.S. export laws.

dismantling Russia's illegal networks

According to the Department of Justice, Oleg Chistyakov and two Americans (Cyril Gregory Buyanovsky and Douglas Edward Robertson) conspired to sell, repair, and transport sensitive U.S. avionics technology to Russia. They allegedly set up a company in the United States and tried to buy the technology before exporting it to Russia through a network of intermediaries.

Chistyakov was arrested in Latvia, a NATO member state, in late March. He is awaiting extradition to the United States.

Matthew G. Olsen, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's National Security Division, said in a press release that, “As alleged, Mr. Chistyakov illegally collected hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide advanced U.S. aerospace technology to Russian companies. I brokered a deal,” he said. “This arrest is another example of the Department of Justice's unwavering mission to hold accountable those who enable Russia's aggression, including those involved in facilitation networks that facilitate Russia's war effort.”

The Justice Department has indicated that the three were handled by the Kremlin's Federal Security Service (FSB), roughly equivalent to the FBI.

“The Department of Justice upholds the laws of the United States and prosecutes those who break them, whether they are on U.S. soil or on the other side of the world,” said Kate E. Brubacher, U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas. said. “The arrest of Oleg Chistyakov was only possible thanks to the assistance and cooperation of the Latvian authorities. International cooperation efforts of this type ensure that people accused of crimes against the United States are kept safely outside the reach of our justice system. It is becoming very difficult to find shelter.”

Russia has used traditional espionage (human and signal collection) and cyber operations to steal American technology.

“The FBI and our partners continue to pursue those who support Russia's unjust and authoritarian conduct or violate export control and other relevant laws,” said Larissa Knapp, FBI Director of National Security. I will continue to do so.” “Today's indictment and forfeiture sentence should serve as a reminder that we will not tolerate attempts to transfer sensitive avionics equipment or technology to adversaries.”

Russia's defense and aerospace industries are suffering due to Western sanctions. As a result, the Russian military is having difficulty equipping its forces in Ukraine with the latest weapons systems. For example, semiconductors are difficult to obtain in Russia, so the Russian military has taken extreme measures to raid refrigerators, microwaves, and washing machines to obtain microchips for use in weapons systems.

Stavros Atamazoglou is an experienced defense and national security journalist specializing in special operations. A veteran of the Hellenic Army (who served in the National Guard with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army Headquarters), he holds a bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins University and a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). . He is pursuing his J.D. from Boston University School of Law.His work can be seen on his Business Insider, Sandboxx, and sofrep.

Image credit: Shutterstock.

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