Two years after start of Ukraine war, Russian titanium keeps flowing to West – by Adam Taylor (Washington Post/Yahoo News – March 22, 2024)

Western firms bought hundreds of millions of dollars of titanium metal from a Russian company with deep ties to the country’s defense industry after the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, according to a review of Russian export data.

The purchases illustrate how the West remains dependent on Russia for certain products despite pledges to break economic ties with Moscow. In the case of titanium, that dependence raises security concerns, industry and defense analysts say, as the metal is vital in the manufacturing of both commercial and military airplanes.

“Russia could shut off the flow of these … materials and leave companies critical to national defense and civil aviation scrambling,” said William George, director of research at ImportGenius, the company that supplied the trade data gathered from an official Russian database to The Washington Post.

After more than two years of war in Ukraine, Russia continues to export oil and gas that eventually reaches the United States and its allies, and Russian firms are still able to sell everything from diamonds to uranium because the West wants the goods and allows carve-outs from sanctions.

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