A U.S. company provided networking equipment to a Russian missile manufacturer, according to a groundbreaking report.

Since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, U.S. businesses have not been permitted to do business with MMZ Avangard, a state-owned company that manufactures missiles for one of Russia’s most advanced weapons, the S-400 air-defense system.

Following Ankara’s acquisition of the Russian system in 2019, the U.S. expelled Turkey, a NATO member, from a joint fighter jet programme. This was a sign of Western concern regarding the S-400.

According to a Reuters special report, MMZ Avangard received computer networking equipment from a U.S. publicly traded technology company, Extreme Networks (EXTR.O), even as the U.S. was taking steps to stifle the company’s operations. Evidence is based on emails, other business records and interviews with credible sources familiar with the situation.

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Extreme said in a statement to news outlet Reuters that it thought equipment “may have” been sold to MMZ Avangard using a fictitious buyer, based on information provided.

The company claimed that it was unaware of the equipment’s sale. It asserted (albeit without supporting evidence) that a middleman in Russia was “complicit” in supplying its goods to “bad actors” through a front company. Extreme added that it will inform the U.S. authorities of its findings regarding these potential sales.

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The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has yet to comment on this information.

Since the start of what Russia calls its “special operation” on Feb. 24, Ukraine has accused Russia of using MMZ Avangard-made missiles against targets on the ground.

According to Ukrainian authorities, a convoy was brutally attacked last month on the outskirts of the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, and MMZ Avangard missiles claimed at least 30 innocent lives.

Business records examined by top sources and those familiar with the situation reveal that between 2017 and 2021, MMZ Avangard purchased Extreme hardware worth more than $500,000 for its IT systems. The goods included software and high-speed switches, which are fundamental components of business IT networks.

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Records also reveal that despite two Extreme officials voicing concerns, the sales went through a seemingly innocent corporation close to Moscow.

The Russian military company appears to be continuing its acquisition of U.S. computer hardware despite being labelled a threat by Washington. This is a real-world example of how Western nations may have overestimated their ability to suffocate the Russian economy with export bans and trade sanctions is the 

An Extreme employee allegedly complained internally in April, six weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, that the company was doing business with various Russian military manufacturers. “Extreme equipment is used on Russian warships,” the complaint argued, “in communications systems.”

This account of how Extreme supplied MMZ Avangard and at least two other Russian military firms is based on interviews with three people familiar with the shipments and a review by Reuters of documents spanning five years to 2021.  

This includes emails between Extreme employees, clients, and distributors as well as sales records in the documents.

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It is practically unavoidable for Russian businesses, including those in the military, to purchase foreign equipment in order to set up computer networks required for modern commerce. The amount of networking hardware produced domestically in Russia is very small.

Extreme is a newcomer to the computer networking market. It was founded in 1996 and reported $1.1 billion in revenue in 2021 versus $50 billion for Cisco Systems.

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