The European Union could slap trade restrictions on countries helping Russia acquire washing machines and used cars to repair its battle-stricken fleet of tanks, Report informs via the Telegraph.
Officials monitoring trade flows to Moscow have noticed a significant uptake in the trade of consumer goods between the bloc and the Kremlin’s traditional allies in central Asia.
It is feared that the new routes, which have jumped up in activity between 60 and 80 per cent, are being used by Russia to circumvent the implementation of Western sanctions designed to cripple its war machine.
European capitals are discussing plans to hit countries involved in helping Moscow dodge the punitive measures with trade sanctions, according to a confidential paper seen by the Telegraph.
The proposal could see any country, business or individual, restricted from accessing the single market if evidence is discovered that proves they have re-exported banned goods to Russia.
“We should give a strong signal to persons and entities in third states,” according to the confidential paper.
“The provision of material support to Russia’s military and defence industrial base will have severe consequences regarding their access to the EU market.”
Many of the goods being shipped contain so-called “dual-use” technologies, which have both military and civilian applications, that are on a list of items prohibited for export to Russia.
Officials have noted that it is mainly washing machines, second-hand cars and cameras that are among the items leaving the EU for the likes of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
It is feared many of the goods are being stripped down, and the semiconductors and other components being used to rebuild Russia’s tanks, armoured vehicles and surveillance drones that have been damaged in Ukraine.
The majority of shipments leaving the EU head to Belarus, via the land border with Lithuania, before being re-exported to central Asia.