Russia is on the hunt for Western semiconductors built by the China-backed owner of the Welsh Newport Wafer Fab factory as it seeks to restock critical high-tech components for its war machine.
Ukrainian intelligence has warned that Vladimir Putin’s regime is desperate for chip technology built by European and American companies, Politico reported.
According to a procurement document seen by Politico, parts on the Russian high-tech “shopping list” reportedly include microchips, diodes and transistors built by Dutch company Nexperia, which is owned by Chinese company Wingtech.
Other components on the list include chips made by American companies such as Texas Instruments and parts from German and Taiwanese companies.
The Telegraph reported in August that components made by Nexperia had been discovered in a Russian missile recovered from the battlefield by researchers at the Royal United Services Institute.
The chipmakers are not accused of wrongdoing, but Moscow may try to gain access to their technology through intermediaries or by recycling chips stripped of non-military technology.
Nexperia bought Welsh chip factory Newport Wafer Fab last year, a deal that is currently the subject of a national security investigation.
A Nexperia spokesperson said none of the components identified by Politico were made in the UK and said its components were not intended for military use.
The spokesperson said: “Nexperia totally condemns Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, we support and respect all international sanctions. We do not have Russian customers and do not sell to Russia.
“Unfortunately, like other chip companies, we’ve seen incidents where our products were used in military applications for which our chips weren’t developed or sold, including in Russia where we don’t even make business.”
The spokesperson added that Nexperia would cease business with any customer found to be in violation of the sanctions.
Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine’s prime minister, told Politico that Moscow lacked critical weapons and only had “four dozen” hypersonic missiles left in its arsenal.
He said: “These are the ones that have precision accuracy because of the microchips they have. But because of the sanctions imposed on Russia, deliveries of this high-tech chip equipment have stopped and they have no way of replenishing these stocks.
Joe Byrne, a researcher at Rusi, said the Western strategy was not to stop every shipment of black market chips, but “to drive up the cost and slow down the supply” and make it impossible to restock the chips. Russian bullet war supplies.
He said: “Russia’s problem is large-scale supply. Rearming becomes more difficult.
The Kremlin is now bracing for Western sanctions to deal a much bigger blow to its economy than it has publicly admitted as its economists build scenarios where GDP will not recover until the end of the decade .
Russia’s economy minister has confirmed the veracity of leaked documents that predicted the economic toll of its invasion of Ukraine will worsen next year as it cuts off Europe’s energy supply and imports of key goods were declining.
In the worst of three scenarios considered in the internal report, first revealed by Bloomberg, Russian GDP plunges 12% by 2024 and does not fully recover to 2021 levels by 2030.
The West is cracking down on the import of raw materials from Russia while the Kremlin has voluntarily cut off a key source of revenue by cutting Europe’s gas supply. A complete cut off of gas to Europe would cost 400bn rubles (£5.65bn) in lost tax revenue, the report said.
He also said there was a big risk of production being suspended due to Russian companies finding it difficult to import materials as there are “simply no alternative suppliers for some critical imports.”
The report presents a much more pessimistic outlook for the Russian economy than that portrayed by the Kremlin, with Vladimir Putin saying he can overcome Western sanctions.