Toronto company sanctioned over allegations owner supplied Russia’s drone program

Click to play video: 'Trudeau announces 70 new sanctions against Russian entities, people involved in war against Ukraine'
Trudeau announces 70 new sanctions against Russian entities, people involved in war against Ukraine
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday more than 70 new sanctions against Russian entities and individuals involved in the war in Ukraine, or complicit in human rights violations. “We will continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine,” he said while attending the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan – May 19, 2023

A Toronto company has been sanctioned by the United States for allegedly supplying Russia with electronics used to manufacture drones for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Anton Sergeyevich Trofimov, a Russian national with homes in Toronto, was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury on Friday along with his Canadian-registered business and his Hong Kong firms.

The 41-year-old’s company Asia Pacific Links Ltd. is allegedly one of the major suppliers of electronics used to manufacture drones for the Russian military.

The Treasury alleged that Trofimov’s companies were “part of the procurement network working to obtain technology” for Russian Orlan-10 drones

The Orlan-10 is a medium-range reconnaissance drone that Russian forces have used extensively in Ukraine to pinpoint targets for artillery and rocket strikes.

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Global Affairs Canada would not respond to questions about Trofimov.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new round of sanctions against Russia at the G7 summit in Japan on Friday.

But Trofimov did not appear on Canada’s sanctions lists, and his company was still identified as “active” on the government’s Corporations Canada website.

In announcing the new sanctions, the U.S. Treasury said they had been imposed in coordination with the G7, and were meant to “further degrade the Russian Federation’s capacity to wage war against Ukraine.”

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress wrote to Canada’s ministers of foreign affairs and public safety in January to ask for action against Trofimov for alleged sanctions violations.

“As you can no doubt understand, the evidence that a resident of Canada is involved in the supply of technology that is being used by Russia to murder Ukrainians is of grievous concern to the UCC and to the Ukrainian Canadian community,” National President Alexandra Chyczij wrote.

Click to play video: 'Eye in the sky: Teen drone pilot helping Ukraine’s military with surveillance'
Eye in the sky: Teen drone pilot helping Ukraine’s military with surveillance

Trofimov, who owns two Toronto properties worth a total of $2.7-million, could not be reached for comment.

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A man with the same name, birthdate and address as the Anton Trofimov on the U.S. sanctions list was charged by Toronto police with impaired driving on Nov. 11, 2022.

Four companies allegedly associated with Trofimov were sanctioned by the U.S., including 10219452 Canada, which is based in Toronto.

Also sanctioned was Asia Pacific Links Ltd., a Hong Kong-based supplier to the St. Petersburg company SMT-iLogic, which in turn supplies the Special Technology Centre, which makes the Orlan-10.

Special Technology Centre is already on the sanctions lists of Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Ukraine due to its “significant role” in “Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine.”

Two other companies allegedly linked to Trofimov, IPS Pacific Company Ltd. and Shenzhen Yantu Import and Export Co Ltd., were also sanctioned by the U.S. for supplying Russia’s drone program.

Trofimov was sanctioned as an individual.

Ukraine was the first country to sanction Trofimov, and the European Union has reportedly proposed sanctioning him.

Since President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine last year, Western components have been turning up in surveillance and attack drones used by Russian forces.

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Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones that Russia has been firing at Kyiv are made almost exclusively of Western parts, including technology from Canada, according to researchers.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service said in its annual report, released on May 4, that several states were behind “clandestine efforts” to acquire sensitive goods in Canada.

Last December, a joint investigation by the Royal United Services Institute and Reuters alleged that Trofimov’s firm was the “largest supplier of microelectronics” to SMT-iLogic since the February 2022 invasion.

The report alleged the Toronto resident’s company had shipped US$5-million worth of microelectronics to SMT-iLogic during the first eight months of the Ukraine war.

“These shipments have included items critical for the Orlan-10 UAV,” it said, using the acronym for the unmanned aerial vehicle.

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