UAE could hurt Russia military effort with microchip export license system

UAE could hurt Russia military effort with microchip export license system
UAE has been under pressure for allowing the export of components used by the Russian military.
2 min read
22 September, 2023
Dubai has become a key refuge for Russian money [Getty]

The UAE could introduce export licenses for key components - which have been used by the Russian military - following pressure from the US and EU.

Emirati officials are considering export controls on technology, such as semiconductors, which have reportedly found their way into Russian weaponry, according to Bloomberg.

Russia has been under tough European and US sanctions since its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Dubai, in particular, has become a critical transshipment hub for advanced US and EU technology, including t0 Russia which has struggled to source microchips.

With critical shortages of weapons, including microchips for its missiles, Moscow has been desperate for alternative suppliers.

Russia hosted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this month, as stockpiles of artillery shells and other ammunition run low due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The US warned North Korea it will "pay a price" if it arms Russia, while China has also been cautioned from providing military support to Moscow.

Timeline: UAE-Russia relations since Ukraine invasion
25 February 2022 - UAE appears to back Russia by abstaining on UN vote condemning invasion
3 March 2022 - UAE condemns Russia invasion in UNGA vote, following Western criticism
10 March 2022 - UAE says will stick to OPEC oil output agreement in boost for Russia
28 March 2022 - UAE energy minister doubles down on Russia energy alliance sparking US anger
16 July 2022 - Biden visits Middle East to win over regional allies
11 October 2022 - Putin visits UAE and meets leader Mohammed bin Zayed
29 January 2023 - US says key Treasury official will visit MENA to warn UAE and others of Russia support
22 August 2023 - UAE denies breaking international exports boycott on Russia
5 September 2023 - US and EU officials to visit UAE to warn of Russia exports: report

EU and US officials have visited the UAE urging them to enforce export bans on dual-use technology but so far to no avail.

The EU and US want countries to put restrictions on the export of 45 goods to Russia which can be used in drones, attack helicopters, and missiles.

If the UAE implements the license system, it could ban the export of microchips and other sanctioned items unless the entity can prove they will be used solely for civilian purposes.

Abu Dhabi has faced criticism for maintaining cordial relations with Russia since the invasion, reportedly acting as an international safehouse for Russian money and oligarchs, while agreeing on oil production strategies favourable to Moscow.

In a UN vote calling for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine shortly after the invasion, the UAE abstained sparking a backlash from Washington.

The EU and US have enacted tough sanctions on Russia and sent arms to Ukraine in a bid to weaken President Vladimir Putin's war effort.

Several Emirati entities have been sanctioned by the EU for dealing with Russia.

It is thought that by signing up to the export license system this will boost the UAE's bid to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force's grey-list.