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Manufacturers of footwear for Russian army buy more than $4 million worth of products in EU this year

Monday, 20 November 2023, 17:10
Manufacturers of footwear for Russian army buy more than $4 million worth of products in EU this year

In 2023, Donobuv, Faraday, Iskoj, and Unichel, the Russian manufacturers of footwear for the security forces, directly imported products from European companies worth US$4.1 million. 

Source: This is reported by the Trap Aggressor project of the StateWatch analytical centre with reference to trade database data

Details: Among the goods are leather, glue, spare parts for shoe machines and others. 

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At the same time, among the largest European suppliers are: 

  • the Italian company Conceria Cervinia Spa ($1.7 million);
  • the Belarusian-German company Belintertrans Germany Gmbh ($0.9 million);
  • the German company Neuhaus Gmbh ($0.7 million). 

Journalists examined samples of Russian footwear found on the battlefield and in the territories liberated by the Ukrainian military and found berets manufactured by the companies listed above. And then, they began to look into the trading bases and purchases of companies that produce these shoes in European countries. 

So, in 2023, the Russian company Faraday presented its products at the Army-2023 exhibition, and in 2022, it received at least six orders for shoes from Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry for a total of US$50 million.

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"Since the beginning of 2023 alone, this firm bought leather and other goods from the Italian company Conceria Cervinia Spa for $1.7 million, the German company Jakob Keck Chemie Gmbh for $300,000 and Salamander Sps Gmbh & Co.Kg for $80,000", Trap Aggressor emphasises. 

At the same time, the Russian manufacturer Donobuv publicly announced on its website that it cooperates with the Russian Defence Ministry, and in the story of the Russian media in 2022 with the management of the company, it was said that they fulfil state orders for the Russian military and switched to work in three shifts, the journalists found out. 

In 2023, the German company Salamander Sps Gmbh & Co Kg became the European key supplier of Donobuv, which directly supplied leather to this company in Russia for US$60,000, Trap Aggressor adds.

"Iskoj artificial leather factory in Kirov, whose official name is Order of the Patriotic War First Class, occasionally helps the Russian military in the war against Ukraine. The company cooperates with the Russian Za Vyatka volunteer foundation: the factory supplied five kilometres of tourniquet, which volunteers use to fill Russian first-aid kits in March 2023. The Russian military recorded a video thanking them for the tourniquet they received in May; the volunteer foundation again thanked the plant for a new batch of tourniquets in June, and the volunteer fund reported on the transfer of factory-produced tourniquets to the Russian military in the combat zone in Ukraine in July.

In August, the plant produced an experimental batch of shoes for Russian intelligence officers and stormtroopers. In addition, the company constantly wins tenders for the shoe soles supply to Russian penal colonies. The largest European supplier of Iskoj in 2023 was the German company Neuhaus Gmbh, which supplied the Russian company with a power generator worth $700,000. The company's website states that the main founder of Neuhaus is a Russian. Additionally, the Spanish company Celme Sl supplied Iskoj with a rubber sole manufacturing machine worth $400,000," the article said.

Journalists said the Russian company Unichel joined the great Russian invasion of Ukraine. It sent to the Russian Defence Ministry all army boots for civilians in the company's warehouses in the winter of 2022. At that time, Unichel did not produce military footwear, but the company began to switch to the production of shoes for soldiers after receiving an order from the government.

Meanwhile, the most active European partner of the company is Belintertrans Germany, a Belarusian company with an office in Germany, which supplied Unichel with creams, rubber, etc., from various European manufacturers for $900,000 in 2023.

Trap Aggressor conducted the listed EU companies for their comment but has not received a response yet. However, the German company Salamander publicly promised to stop trading with the Russians in May 2023 voluntarily.

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