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New report shows Russia raking in revenue from state nuclear company

New Report from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies outlines how Russia's nuclear energy corporation helps raise revenue for Russia's war in Ukraine

A new report released by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) highlights how Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation, remains a major revenue source for Moscow and helps Russian President Vladimir Putin fund his war machine against Ukraine.

The report, titled "Radioactive: Executives from Russia’s Rosatom Corporation May Qualify for U.S. Sanctions," shows that while the U.S. and European Union nations tightened sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, these nations reportedly purchased $1.7 billion in nuclear products and services from Rosatom. The company also helps Russia’s arms industry with key components that are used to kill Ukrainian civilians and soldiers on the battlefield.

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The Biden administration has so far been reluctant to sanction Rosatom over fears it could disrupt the nuclear energy market. The U.S. and its European allies partially rely on Rosatom for its nuclear energy needs, and the company supplies key nuclear technology, from nuclear reactors to the uranium fuel cycle. In 2022, 12% of U.S.-mined and milled uranium purchases and 24% of enriched uranium are from Russia, according to the Energy Information Agency.

If the U.S. wants to choke off more revenue from Putin, the administration should start looking at Rosatom.

"The Biden administration must lead the effort to reduce Russia’s revenue sources, including Moscow’s robust nuclear energy. Washington should start by sanctioning the leadership of Rosatom and signaling that there are consequences for Russia’s war in Ukraine that will continue after the war ends," Anthony Ruggiero, senior director of FDD’s Nonproliferation and Biodefense Program and co-author of the report, told Fox News Digital.

The FDD report asserts that the U.S. should sanction Rosatom under Executive Order 14024, "Blocking Property With Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation," which President Biden signed in April 2021.

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A spokesperson from the State Department told Fox Business that, "We do not preview or discuss potential future sanctions targets," but noted that "State has already sanctioned under E.O. 14024 several persons associated with Rosatom," and referred Fox Business to those sanctions.

The administration is starting to take notice. The report noted that in February, the U.S. sanctioned Russian nuclear and Rosatom-linked individuals and entities. However, the experts stress that the U.S. needs to go further and sanction all 14 members of Rosatom’s supervisory and management boards. The United Kingdom, in contrast, has sanctioned every management board member and highlighted the individuals’ affiliations with Rosatom.

Andrea Stricker, deputy director of FDD’s Nonproliferation and Biodefense Program and co-author of the report, told Fox News Digital that "the war’s prolonged duration underscores that the West is not adequately closing off revenues to Moscow and forcing the Kremlin to make tough decisions."

"By continuing to buy nuclear commodities from Rosatom, the Biden administration and its European allies are undermining their own efforts to help Ukraine win quickly and decisively," Stricker added.

Rosatam’s board is composed of current and former government officials in the security sector with close ties to Putin. Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s director-general since 2016 and former Russian foreign minister, has yet to be sanctioned by the U.S. Likhachev is the public face of the company, and the FDD report noted that he frequently travels globally and urges governments to ignore geopolitical realities and Russian atrocities committed in Ukraine and to maintain or deepen business ties with Moscow. 

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Rosatom also oversees operations at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, in Russian-occupied southeastern Ukraine. Combat at the power plant during the initial phase of the war led many to fear a possible nuclear catastrophe. 

As Rosatom continues to earn profits for the Russian state, civilian casualties in Ukraine mount with the second winter of war approaching. At least 10,000 civilians have been killed and more than 18,500 injured since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, according to the U.N.

The FDD report said if the U.S. is serious about holding Russia and Putin accountable for the devastation wrought on Ukraine, it says the sanctioning of Rosatom would send a credible signal to Russia and the world that war crimes committed in Ukraine must not be tolerated. 

"The administration needs to close ongoing Russian sanctions loopholes to support Kyiv and deprive the Kremlim of Rosatom’s revenue. It would also send a clear message that Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian nuclear plants and threats to nuclear safety and security have serious consequences," the report said.

The State Department did not respond to Fox Business questions by press time.

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