Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal this week told Politico that he expects that diminished access to technology will be the driving force staving off Russia’s ongoing attacks. Since invading Ukraine, Russia has spent months burning through nearly half of the critical military technology in its arsenal, and now Politico has shared a leaked “shopping list” of tech that Russia is most urgently seeking to replenish its stockpile.
“According to our information, Russians have already spent almost half… of their weaponry arsenal,” Shmyhal told Politico.
Among about two dozen “chokepoint technologies” that Russia “most desperately” needs to stay in the fight are microchips manufactured by eight US tech companies that America hopes to block Russia from accessing through sanctions.
Those companies include Marvell, Intel, Holt, ISSI, Microchip, Micron, Broadcom, and Texas Instruments. Sanctions can only go so far to limit distribution from these companies, though, as Russia will likely look to third parties or unregulated markets to fill the gap. Ars reached out to all US tech companies for comment, but only a few immediately responded.
“We take our responsibility as a good corporate citizen seriously,” Brian Thorsen, a Microchip spokesperson, told Ars. “In compliance with export laws, and because actions by Russia against the Ukraine are in opposition to our Guiding Values, Microchip ceased shipments to customers in Russia, Belarus, and sanctioned regions in the Ukraine.”
“For over a decade all of Intel’s sales in Russia have been through distributors who are required to comply with US export controls,” Penny Bruce, Intel’s corporate communications director, told Ars. “Intel has suspended all shipments to customers in both Russia and Belarus and will continue to comply with all applicable export regulations and sanctions in the countries in which it operates. This includes compliance with the sanctions and export controls against Russia and Belarus issued by the US and allied nations.”
In March, Marvell posted a similar statement directed to business partners: “Marvell is stopping all transactions of its products directly and indirectly to customers based in Russia, Belarus, Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) regions of Ukraine.”
Politico reported that some of the tech parts that Russia seeks could still potentially be accessed easily and smuggled into Russia via unregulated online markets, but other products have long been out of stock globally.
Without more microchips—as well as other items on the Kremlin’s shopping list like “semiconductors, transformers, connectors, casings, transistors, insulators, and other components”—Russia may lose its most powerful missile technology and perhaps even be forced to withdraw from the conflict.
Shmyhal told Politico the “outcome of the war” could “hinge” on whether Russia can quickly stockpile microchips, which is why Ukraine has issued international warnings to alert other countries to help cut off Russia’s supply. For now, the strategy appears to be working in Ukraine’s favor.
“Because of sanctions imposed on Russia, the deliveries of this high-tech microchip equipment… have stopped and they have no way of replenishing these stocks,” Shmyhal told Politico.