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Russian-linked firms in Lithuania supply Crimean power plants in breach of EU sanctions
21 Jul 2021

A Kaunas-based company has breached EU sanctions and supplied equipment for the construction of power plants in Russian-annexed Crimea, LRT Investigation Team reports.

Water filtration systems from Lithuania were used in the construction of thermal power plants in Crimea, data collected by LRT Investigation Team and Scanner project, a Russian anti-corruption initiative, shows. The Lithuanian company Run Engineering supplied the systems to a Russian company Voronezh-Aqua, despite not being authorised to export dual-use items. Voronezh-Aqua carried out the construction of the Balaklava and Tavria power plants in Crimea.

Equipment for Crimea

In March 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Crimea to celebrate the launch of the Balaklava and Tavria power plants.

He was accompanied by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, then deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak, and Sergei Chemezov, the head of Rostec Corporation and a close associate of Putin.

After the annexation in 2014, the Crimean peninsula faced water shortages and power outages, but Russia was not able to produce the necessary equipment. The EU has imposed sanctions, barring European companies from exporting infrastructure equipment to the annexed region.

The construction of power plants in Simferopol and Sevastopol began in 2016 and the facilities began operating in March 2019.

In 2017, the German company Siemens sold four gas turbines to a Russian engineering company, Technopromexport, a subsidiary of Rostec. To bypass the sanctions, the Russian company said it would use the gas turbines in Krasnodar. Instead, Technopromexport shipped them to Crimea.

Siemens is not the only company to be involved in Russia’s scheme to evade sanctions, LRT Investigation Team and Scanner project have found. Voronezh-Aqua, a Russian engineering company, bought water filtration systems from the Kaunas-based company Run Engineering to be installed in the two power plants.

Voronezh-Aqua was one of four companies in charge of the construction of the two power plants. It was responsible for the installation of water filtration systems and sewage treatment equipment.

Companies in Lithuania and the Czech Republic manufacture and sell all of the water treatment systems to Voronezh-Aqua, documents show. On its website, Voronezh-Aqua states that the equipment is manufactured in a factory in Lithuania’s second largest city, Kaunas.

Voronezh-Aqua was added to the EU sanctions list in 2019.

By Rūta Juknevičiūtė, LRT, 20 July 2021

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