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Russians scheming to steal US military technology arrested

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Last Wednesday, the Justice Department broke up several illegal schemes to send military technology to Russia, some of which had been recovered from battlefields in Ukraine. The Justice Department announced that it arrested two Russian nationals and leveled charges against nearly a dozen people and two companies in connection with this scheme.

Yury Orekhov and Artem Uss have been accused of using a front company and false documents to ship sensitive electronics such as advanced semiconductors and microprocessors used in fighter aircraft, radars, satellites, missile systems, smart munitions to Russian companies that are under sanctions by the United States.

“Some of the same electronic components obtained through the criminal scheme have been found in Russian weapons platforms seized on the battlefield in Ukraine,” prosecutors said.

Orekhov was arrested in Germany and Uss in Italy.

The Justice Department said in a released statement that “nuclear proliferation technology” was also attempted to be sent by the defendants to Russia but was intercepted.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “These charges reveal two separate global schemes to violate U.S. export and sanctions laws, including by shipping sensitive military technologies from U.S. manufacturers – including types found in seized Russian weapons platforms in Ukraine – and attempting to reexport a machine system with potential application in nuclear proliferation and defense programs to Russia.” 

“As I have said, our investigators and prosecutors will be relentless in their efforts to identify, locate, and bring to justice those whose illegal acts undermine the rule of law and enable the Russian regime to continue its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” Garland added.

According to court documents, Orekhov, who was a co-owner of a German industrial company along with Uss, met in California in 2019 with a businessman and asked to buy American-made components that were to be used in Russia’s new Sukhoi fighter aircraft. He then told the businessman that the paperwork would need to be falsified to show a Malaysian front company as the purchaser since the Russians were under export sanctions. 

In its second indictment, the Justice Department worked with Latvian authorities to intercept a high-precision grinding machine that can be used for Nuclear Proliferation and defense programs. The machine was manufactured in Connecticut and was reportedly being sent to the Russian Ministry of Defense. Known as a “jig grinder,” the machine can be used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other military equipment.

Three Latvians and a Ukrainian that had been living in Latvia have been charged in relation to the crime. “The danger created by such conduct is profound,” U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery of the District of Connecticut said.

Steve Balestrieri is a proven military analyst. He served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer in the 7th Special Forces Group. In addition to writing for, he has written for and; he has covered the NFL for for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.

Feature Image: Russian troops are fixing missiles to a Russian jet at Latakia. (Wikimedia Commons via Russian Ministry of Defense)

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