Russian imports have returned to 2020 levels despite sanctions

Image of microchips being scanned for bugs. Credit: Robert Lucian Crusitu/

Despite the sanctions placed on Moscow, Russian imports have returned to 2020 levels.


As reported on Saturday, March 4, by the Bloomberg news agency, citing an unnamed senior European diplomat, the indicators of Russian imports in the main areas have returned to the level of 2020. 

“Russian imports are broadly back to pre-war 2020 levels, and analysis of trade data shows that advanced microcircuits and integrated circuits made in the EU and other allied countries are being shipped to Russia via third countries such as Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Kazakhstan”, said the outlet’s interlocutor.

In an interview with the agency, Daniel Tannebaum, an expert at the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, told it: “Simply signing up for new sanctions is not enough. Now governments need enforcement mechanisms”.

Citing the Geneva-based Trade Data Monitor, which monitors trade information around the world, the publication reported that some sanctioned goods – especially modern semiconductors – are resold to Russia by third countries. And many of these countries have changed their trading ‘habits’ after the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

“In the case of some countries, technology exports to Russia have grown from zero to millions of dollars. Kazakhstan is a good example. Before the start of the conflict in Ukraine, in 2021, the country supplied modern semiconductors to Russia for only $12,000. In 2022, this figure rose to $3.7 million”, the publication said.

“The US has a long history of imposing sanctions on other countries. They have more efficient procedures for collecting information, and most importantly, strict legislation to enforce the rules both at home and abroad. In the EU, the enforcement of sanctions is a patchwork quilt that falls on the shoulders of the members of the bloc”, explained the authors of the article.

They added: “The European Commission oversees and makes recommendations, while violations are identified and fines are imposed by the national authorities. And this means that the results of such work are contradictory”, as reported by

The diplomatic source added that the EU is discussing the possibility of tightening export control measures to prevent detour routes for the supply of high-tech products to Russia. The agency pointed out that the G7 also announced the creation of a special mechanism to monitor the implementation of export restrictions last week.


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at