How Russia imports goods from Latvia: exploring logistics and trade mechanisms
Despite Latvia's staunch support for a strong European Union stance against Russia and Belarus, longstanding business connections between Latvian companies and their Russian and Belarusian counterparts persist
According to Arte, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the EU has implemented 12 rounds of sanctions targeting Russia and its ally Belarus. Latvia supports these measures and has successfully transitioned to living without Russian gas for a year, marking a significant shift from relying on it for over 90% of its supply before the war.
While Riga has ceased importing Russian and Belarusian oil, metals, and fertilizers, certain Latvian companies are finding ways around the sanctions. They have notably increased exports to Russia's neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia.
Arte suggests these exported goods likely find their way to the Russian Federation indirectly. After arriving in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, or Armenia, they are promptly re-exported and shipped to Russia.
So, Latvian products are finding indirect routes to enter Russia and Belarus, with limited oversight from European regulatory bodies. Prior investigations have highlighted Russia's use of Central Asian and Caucasus states as channels to avoid Western economic sanctions.
Hence, the EU and Lithuania, in particular, must closely monitor trade with countries involved in avoiding sanctions. If needed, they should impose additional sanctions to stop Russia from getting important parts for making weapons. Supporting Russia's war effort means aiding in harming Ukrainians in a war that has been going on for almost two years.