Ukraine: Inna Sovsun discusses possible Rosatom sanctions
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Vladimir Putin is using Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear energy company, as a “trojan horse” to import components for weapons with which to attack Ukraine, Kyiv-based MP has warned. Inna Sovsun urged western leaders to sanction the state-owned body – suggesting they are currently reluctant to do so because of a dependence on Russian nuclear fuel.
A report published by the UK-based think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) this week suggest Russia’s nuclear energy exports continue to expand, even though its overall economy has been clobbered by wide-ranging sanctions.
Russian customs data, sourced via a third-party commercial trade data provider, indicates Russia has exported more than £830million-worth of nuclear energy-related goods and materials since Putin launched his invasion on February 24.
Ms Sovsun told Express.co.uk: “That is why we should be working on making sure that they don’t get access to the materials, to the all the elements that they need for their weapons.
“And that is why we have to make sure that the sanctions are absolute so that they cannot get hold of the stuff, like the microchips and the machines, they need to build weapons.
“We need to sanction Rosatom, which they are using to buy the dual-use products, and bring them to Russia
“They use this to get stuff to Russia that they used in weapons. They are using Rosatom as a Trojan horse.”
Asked why Rosatom was exempt, Ms Sovsun said: “Everybody knows to an extent Europe depends on Russian gas.
“But nobody looks at what extent Europe and the US depend on Russian nuclear fuel.”
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Ms Sovsun’s point was underscored by fresh Russian cruise missile strikes on Ukraine this week, which resulted in the death of one 79-year-old woman and the injury of seven more people.
RUSI’s report, written by research fellow Darya Dolzikova and published on Tuesday, said some customers which have historically relied on Russian nuclear energy exports – such as Ukraine itself, Czechia and Bulgaria – had sought to diversify away from Russian supplies, although contractual obligations and technical challenges make diversification “slow and complicated – although not impossible”.
Additionally, generous Russian financing arrangements made Russia an attractive supplier among competitors in the nuclear energy sector, the report pointed out.
She added: “The trade data reviewed by the author shows a drop-off in Russian nuclear exports to some countries in Eastern and Western Europe since the invasion of Ukraine, but also a significant rise in the overall value of Russian nuclear energy exports in 2022.
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“Significant increases in value can be observed in Russian nuclear energy-related exports to China, which appear to be the result of Russian exports of fuel for the Chinese CFR-600 reactor at the Xiapu nuclear power plant (NPP).”
She continued: “The primacy among Russian nuclear energy customers of countries that have proven reluctant to support Western sanctions on Russia so far suggests that any EU and US sanctions on Rosatom and Russian nuclear trade need to be coupled with broader diplomatic efforts if they are to be effective in significantly curtailing Russian economic gains from its nuclear energy exports.
“Focusing efforts on bringing countries like Turkey and Hungary on board with increasing the political and economic pressure on Moscow – including through the provision of viable and sustainable alternatives to Russian nuclear energy-related supplies – will be key.
“Securing China’s cooperation will undoubtedly prove more difficult. As it has in other contexts, Russia will find ways to take advantage of these divisions to its own benefit.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the Foreign Office to ask whether Britain is considering sanctioning Rosatom.
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