Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) said it had uncovered a production line for Russia’s national ski team at a factory owned by a foreign national in the country’s western Zakarpattia region.

According to the SBU report, production started at the beginning of this year after the full-scale invasion and involved winter garments made for the Russian ski teams, with Russian symbols glued on to the jackets.

More than 40 batches of these winter sportswear were transported to Russia through a European country where the owner of the factory resided. Some personnel in the factory were aware of the operation and were told to keep it a secret.

While the SBU didn’t disclose the owner’s nationality, the Head of Zakarpattia Regional State Administration Viktor Mykyta said the owner is Italian.

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According to the SBU, the owner was “directly involved in concluding relevant contracts with Russian customers and organized the shipment of finished products to the Russian Federation.”

The Zakarpattia region borders Hungary and Slovakia and shares a small border with Poland. 

Italy had close ties with the Soviet Union with notable cooperations in different sectors, including the licensing of Fiat 124 productions in the 1960s which boosted the domestic car manufacturing industry within the Soviet Union.

To date, pro-Russian narratives within Italy remain rampant despite the government’s public support for Ukraine in the ongoing full-scale invasion by the Kremlin.

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