Goods from the European Union worth at least $1 billion disappeared during transit through Russia to destinations in Armenia, Kazakhstan, and the Kyrgyz Republic, the Financial Times reported after reviewing public data.
According to the FT, out of $2 billion worth of goods that have been imported from the European Union to other countries with transit through Russia, at least $1 billion worth of produce has not reached the destinations.
The goods include products that could be potentially used for military or intelligence purposes, such as aircraft components, soldering irons, optical equipment, gas turbines, radio broadcasting products, and other goods.
For instance, FT reports that thirteen months before the full-scale warfare in Ukraine, Lithuanian companies sent $28 million worth of dual-use items to Kazakhstan, but the receiving side reported only $9 million received. During the thirteen months after the start of the war, Lithuania sent goods to Kazakhstan worth $84 million (+$56 million period-over-period), but Kazakhstan reported receiving only $11 million worth of products (+$2 million).
The FT notes that the actual volume of 'ghost trade' from the EU to Russia is much higher, because the amount of $1 billion concerned only individual restricted goods, which journalists were able to compare with data on international trade flows.
In response to the growing threat of secondary sanctions, the Kazakh government implemented a system of electronic tracking of goods that transit through the country to Russia on April 1. The system aims to prevent the re-export of dual-use items to the Russian side.