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War in Ukraine: Russia is desperately short of electronic components to keep fighting

Vladimir Putin’s shameful invasion of Ukraine could depend on Russia’s inability to access high-tech electrical components as a result of the sanctions imposed on them.

Russian forces are now increasingly dependent on Soviet-era ammunition stocks, having fired more firepower than many could have expected — including themselves.

Ukraine’s backlash, which has seen them make significant progress in recent days, has further frustrated Russian forces, who are losing control of areas they had previously occupied.

But Putin and his men could soon be running empty. Fueling the war further could come down to whether or not Russia regains access to high-tech chips.

Ukraine has issued international warnings that the Kremlin has a “shopping list” of semiconductors, connectors, transformers, insulators and more – most of which are made by the US, Taiwan, UK, Japan and Germany.

Russia has been heavily dependent on these countries in recent years, but with the sanctions at play, it shouldn’t be so easy for them to get their hands on the critical technology.

According to US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, desperate Russians are even resorting to chips from household appliances, including dishwashers and refrigerators.

Vladimir Putin's shameful invasion of Ukraine may be related to Russia's inability to access high-tech electrical components due to sanctions imposed on them

Vladimir Putin’s shameful invasion of Ukraine may be related to Russia’s inability to access high-tech electrical components due to sanctions imposed on them

The invasion of Russia could be stopped in the future by their inability to access microchips.  Ukrainian forces are already fighting back and have made significant dents in the Russian-occupied territory.  Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers claim Kupyansk has been liberated

The invasion of Russia could be stopped in the future by their inability to access microchips.  Ukrainian forces are already fighting back and have made significant dents in the Russian-occupied territory.  Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers claim Kupyansk has been liberated

The invasion of Russia could be stopped in the future by their inability to access microchips. Ukrainian forces are already fighting back and have made significant dents in the Russian-occupied territory. Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers claim Kupyansk has been liberated

The shopping list seen by Politics is split into three priority categories, from most critical to least, and even includes the price Russia is willing to pay.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal believes the future of war may be based on the nature of technology.

Putin announced a series of new hypersonic weapons in 2018 in one of his most belligerent speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and dodge a US-built missile defense shield.

But Shymyhal told Politico that the Russians have only “four dozen” hypersonic missiles left and have already spent “almost” half their arsenal.

“These are the ones that have precision and accuracy thanks to the microchips they have,” he said of the missiles.

“But because of the sanctions imposed on Russia, deliveries of this high-tech microchip equipment… have stopped and they have no way to replenish these supplies.”

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal believes that sanctions prevent Russia from replenishing their high-precision hypersonic missiles.  Pictured: A Zircon Hypersonic Cruise Missile

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal believes that sanctions prevent Russia from replenishing their high-precision hypersonic missiles.  Pictured: A Zircon Hypersonic Cruise Missile

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal believes that sanctions prevent Russia from replenishing their high-precision hypersonic missiles. Pictured: A Zircon Hypersonic Cruise Missile

However, there are concerns that China could be a key player in saving Russia if they buy and resell technologies.

While the EU, US and Japan have sanctioned Russia, China has not – and Beijing has previously supplied drones and vehicles to the invaders.

While many items Russia is looking for can be found online, others have been wiped out by the global shortage of microchips.

The overwhelming demand for chips, coupled with the lack of supply, has caused the shortage.

The pandemic played a major role in the decline of semiconductors and chips as demand for work-from-home technology increased and car companies decided to cancel orders.

Despite the shortage, Russia is looking for more fuel to continue their war effort. According to the list seen, their main components are AirBorn connectors which are located in the US.

Microchips from a host of companies, including Altera, intel, Broadcom, Holt and Cypress, also make up a significant portion of the Kremlin’s shopping list.

Less critical components were capacitors, resistors and inductors from the US, Taiwan, parts of the EU and Japan.

Russia, like others, is facing the global shortage of electrical components.  But in addition, it has sanctions that prevent it from buying chips that are available.  Pictured: The most expensive item on the Russian shopping list is a port array that costs 66,815.77 rubles (£937) each.  Before the global deficit, it would have been closer to £18.

Russia, like others, is facing the global shortage of electrical components.  But in addition, it has sanctions that prevent it from buying chips that are available.  Pictured: The most expensive item on the Russian shopping list is a port array that costs 66,815.77 rubles (£937) each.  Before the global deficit, it would have been closer to £18.

Russia, like others, is facing the global shortage of electrical components. But in addition, it has sanctions that prevent it from buying chips that are available. Pictured: The most expensive item on the Russian shopping list is a port array that costs 66,815.77 rubles (£937) each. Before the global deficit, it would have been closer to £18.

The most expensive item on the list is an Intel gate array that costs 66,815.77 rubles (£937) each. Before the global deficit, it would have been closer to £18.

The cheapest is a Marvell ethernet transciever with a much lower 430.83 rubles (£6).

Researchers fear that supplies of goods to Russian military personnel are often unregulated, allowing them to circumvent sanctions and EU regulations designed to strictly control the sale of chips.

If Russia can be stopped from accessing chips, that will work hard in Ukraine’s favor – who are already on the counter-offensive.

But many fear that, despite the Kremlin running out of ammunition, Western governments may not be able to stop Russian “friends” like China from helping them and fueling the war further.

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