In a recent investigation by RBC-Ukraine, it has been revealed that the Russian defence industry continues to receive raw materials for titanium production from Ukraine.
According to insiders in the titanium industry, a significant portion of titanium raw materials exported from Ukraine is making its way into Russia through intermediaries. Although Ukraine itself does not produce metal titanium or its finished products, the country exports titanium concentrates, which are then processed and used in various countries.
During the war, the state-owned United Mining and Chemical Company (UMCC Titanium) exported a substantial 82.2 thousand tons of titanium-containing ores from July 2022 to April 2023.
Sources in the titanium industry indicate that a significant share of these shipments ended up in Russia.
The investigation further reveals that the titanium concentrate exports were sold to intermediary companies based in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Notably, these companies have Russian citizens as their founders and have been found to be conducting business with Russia.
Of particular concern was the buyer of titanium tetrachloride, Nadezda Invest D.o.o., registered in Budva, Montenegro, co-founded by Sergey Orekhov and Vladislav Nechiporenko. Additionally, the Austrian company LL-resources GmbH, directed by Russian citizen Anatoly Zaitsev from St. Petersburg, purchased sponge titanium from ZTMC.
This Russian connection extends further to Cytleon s.r.o., a Czech company that bought titanium slag in August 2022, co-founded by Russian citizen Leonid Citlenok, registered in Moscow.
Experts warn that state-owned enterprises are either knowingly or negligently selling titanium products to intermediary companies, which subsequently supply them to Russia. There are growing concerns that the end-users of these products are likely military factories, fueling worries about potential military applications.
The world's largest titanium producer, Russian VSMPO-Avisma Corporation, has historically relied on Ukrainian raw materials and continues to do so. Investigators raise red flags, as VSMPO-Avisma's products are widely used in military factories for the production of aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, and other defense-related products.
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