EU Exported Weapons to Russia Despite Arms Embargo

A resident walks near a damaged Russian military vehicle in the northeastern city of Trostianets, on March 29.
FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

EU Exported Weapons to Russia Despite Arms Embargo

Supporting Putin’s army will have consequences far beyond Ukraine.

An investigation by the nonprofit organization has revealed that Europe sold weapons to Russia from 2014 to 2020 via a loophole in an arms embargo imposed after the invasion of Crimea. France was responsible for the majority of these sales, as French President Emmanuel Macron publicly acknowledged on March 15. Why did Europe decide to continue exports in secrecy, and what will be the consequences in Ukraine and beyond?

After Russia’s invasion of Crimea in February 2014, the EU declared a ban on selling arms to Russia that came into effect in August of that year. However, an escape clause was included in the treaty. It stated that any arms contracts agreed before Aug. 1, 2014, would still be fulfilled.

Since arms exports continued for at least five years after the Russian invasion, it is possible that the majority of contracts agreed involved long-term supply and maintenance of equipment. It is also possible that European arms manufacturers used the time between February and August 2014 to plan the next five years of contracts, thus avoiding a loss of profit and permitting Russia to continue modernizing its armed forces. Though, this cannot be confirmed at present.

The total value of arms exported by all EU countries to Russia from 2014 to 2020 was €352.4 million (us$385.3 million), according to official EU records. (The value of the licenses themselves was $1.6 billion.) Of these, France was the largest exporter, accounting for $255.5 million. However, Germany was the second-largest exporter in 2015. Austria was the second-largest exporter from 2016 to 2020, with Germany remaining in third place. In 2020, Austria supplied Russia with $2.7 million of ammunition and light weaponry.

The list of exports is extensive—bombs, missiles, toxic chemical agents, naval and aviation technology, small arms and ammunition, sensors and countermeasures—but does not discuss any details beyond the general category that exports fall under. obtained documents showing that many of France’s exports consisted of thermal and optical sensors, which are installed on Russian tanks and aircraft. It is possible many are presently in use in Ukraine.

Questioned about why France continued exporting weapons to Russia despite the occupation of Crimea, Macron told French media on March 15 that “France made the necessary decisions in 2014” under former President François Hollande. But the question remains: Why were no changes made afterward?

This is a question with consequences beyond France and the war in Ukraine. To understand why these EU nations have worked against nato and American interests, it is necessary to understand the history and Bible prophecy of the Europe-Russia relationship.

The nation best positioned to lead the bloc is the EU’s largest economy, Germany. As the Trumpet has written before, EU nations such as France often act in the interests of Germany, even at the expense of long-time allies such as the United States. However, the EU’s cooperation with Russia does not mean that these two get along well—far from it. The real reason Germany and the EU seem to sympathize with Russia is explained in Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Germany and Russia’s Secret War Against America.”

“History shows that Germany and Russia are not actually partners,” he wrote. “When they enter into peace deals and economic partnerships, it is a signal that either or both are preparing for some kind of imperialistic exploit.” Although he applied this to their cooperation for Nord Stream 2, the same applies to the military cooperation recently revealed. The “imperialistic exploit” Russia and Europe are preparing for is indeed a real threat. Bible prophecy describes the coming war precipitated by these two powers as the worst time of suffering mankind has ever experienced (Matthew 24:21-22).

This exploit will shock the world because Bible prophecy explains that it will be directed primarily against the United States and Britain. To read more about why cooperation between Europe and Russia is a sign of imminent danger, not only for Ukraine but also for the U.S. and Britain, read “Germany and Russia’s Secret War Against America,” by Gerald Flurry.