Is Russia’s army violating a European Union sanction targeting the purchase of goods that can be used for military purposes? The sanction has been in place since 2014.
BILD has inquired into whether Russian forces are using propeller blades – so-called “folding propellers” – manufactured in Germany for seven types of drones in their drone fleet. The respective German companies did not know about this until now.
More specifically, the unmanned aerial espionage and reconnaissance vehicles that are equipped with German propellers are the models “Granat-1”, “Granat-2”, “Granat-3”, “Tachion”, “ZALA-42104M”, “Grusha”, and “Orlan-2”. Their first flights took place between 2005 and 2012. However, they only began to be mass produced in 2015 and 2016 and were then incorporated into the various troop units of the Russian forces.
Drone propellers are potentially a violation of sanctions
Ever since Russia’s destabilizing activities in Ukraine in 2014, an EU arms embargo against Moscow has been in force. There are also trade restrictions on dual-use goods, i.e. material that can be used for both civil and military purposes. Does this include the German propeller blades used on Russian military drones?
BILD inquired with the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA). According to the Office, there is a general ban on supplying dual-use goods to Russia, “if these goods are, or might be, wholly or partly designed for military purposes (in the example described by you: potentially for installation in military goods) or for a military end-user”.
In this particular case, the BAFA does not want to make a definite decision. “The export of propeller blades and folding propellers is partly subject to authorization. However, whether there is an authorization requirement, and whether an export must be authorized, needs to be reviewed in each respective case,” a BAFA spokesperson told BILD.