Posted on Jul 24, 2021
Equipment delivered to Russia by a Lithuania-based company ended up being used at power stations in Crimea despite European Union sanctions prohibiting trade activity with the Russian-controlled peninsula, according to evidence discovered in an investigation by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and its partners.
Run Engineering shipped equipment to a Russian company contracted to supply water filters to two plants being constructed in Crimea, the Ukrainian region seized and occupied by Russia in 2014, the investigation by the service's Schemes program, Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT, and the Scanner Project found.
Export documents and photographic evidence indicates that filters, including a component requiring an export license, were shipped to Russian company Voronezh-Aqua by Run Engineering. The same equipment was used at the power stations on the Black Sea peninsula, the investigation found.
Run Engineering denied any wrongdoing and said it had not sent any equipment for use in Crimea.
"We provided all the necessary documents, proof that it was to be a civilian object, absolutely not going to Crimea, but to another facility," Run Engineering Director Povilas Medeksa told the investigation by the three news organisations.
However, export records suggests that a key water-filter component -- membranes -- had been acquired by Run Engineering from a German-based subsidiary of U.S.-based DuPont, and shipped to Run's Russian partner, Voronezh-Aqua, the investigation found.
Photographic evidence appeared to show the same equipment, with the same labels, at the facilities near the Crimean cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol.
Run Engineering is registered in Kaunas, Lithuania, a free economic zone offering businesses tax breaks and other benefits. It had a years-long partnership with Voronezh-Aqua -- which was contracted to do work on the energy plants in Crimea -- and had been denied an export license for violating rules over possible trade in Crimea in 2018.
The German company, Inge, acknowledged that it had a business partnership with Run Engineering, but said that ended in 2020. It said it was unaware any of its membranes had ended up in Crimea.
"At no time in the course of this customer relationship with Run Engineering did Inge GmbH have any knowledge or even any indication that the products delivered to this customer would be used at a destination other than that specified by the customer," DuPont spokeswoman Daniela Drossler told Deutsche Welle, the German broadcaster that was also involved in the investigation.
The media outlets that conducted the investigation sought comment from the European Commission, which coordinates EU sanctions policy, on the findings. No response had been received by the time of publication on July 20th.
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