MOSCOW — The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions against Russian state arms export agency Rosoboronexport and four Russian defense industry enterprises — including the MiG aircraft corporation — for alleged violations of a nonproliferation and missile technology control regime.
"These entities were sanctioned based on credible information that they have been involved in the transfer or purchase to or from Iran, North Korea or Syria of goods, services or technology listed on multilateral export control lists, US national control lists, or other items that could make a material contribution to the development of weapons of mass destruction or missile proliferation," said US Embassy Moscow spokesman Will Stevens.
The move prevents any US company or government agency from doing business with the sanctioned Russian defense entities, which include Russia's state arms export agency Rosoboronexport.
Rosoboronexport is the doorway between Russia's defense industry and foreign export customers. The agency claimed to have delivered $13.2 billion in military exports last year, and at the MAKS airshow last week said Russia's export backlog amounts to $40 billion.
The famous MiG aircraft company was among those Russian companies singled out in the latest sanctions action — which closely coincided with the Department of Commerce announcing a new round of economic sanctions in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The other three companies on today's list were high-precision weapons maker Instrument Design Bureau (KBP) Tula; a rocket and missile design bureau near Moscow known as NPO Mishinostroyenia — the same bureau that designed the USSR's SS-19 ICBM; and the Katod company in Novosibirsk.
Katod manufactures, among other things, night vision goggles that were sold in the US; the sanctions cut the company off from that market.
In comments carried by the TASS news agency on Wednesday, Katod CEO Vladimir Loktionov mocked the sanctions against his company as a sign that Russian night-vision technology intimidated US competitors.
"So, Russia doesn't just pump oil, it can also do something that can compete with American companies," Loktionov said, brushing off any impact the sanctions might have by claiming the majority of its customers are in the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union or one of the BRICS nations.
Russia's Foreign Ministry was furious with the sanctions — both from the State and Commerce departments — responding in a statement later on Wednesday that the US is trying "to punish us for the rigorous pursuit of [our] national interests, and for the free choice of the inhabitants of Crimea and Sevastopol," to join Russia last year.
Matthew Bodner covered Russian affairs for Defense News.