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Nadezhda Prokopenko stands in front of a relative's house that was destroyed in a Russian missile strike in Selydove near Avdiivka, Ukraine, on Feb. 19.THOMAS PETER/Reuters

Electronic components from three Canadian companies are turning up in weapons and other gear used by Russia in its military assault on Ukraine, according to a database created by a Ukrainian government agency.

Parts from Canada have been found in three Iranian-made combat drones: the Shahed-136, the Shahed 131, the Mohajer-6 as well as the Russian-made Orlan-10 drone, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention’s (NACP) War and Sanctions database shows.

Moscow’s war on Ukraine has led to unprecedented levels of Russian-Iranian co-operation. Russia has come to rely on Iranian-made drones to attack Ukrainian soldiers, civilians and infrastructure.

Other Canadian-made components are showing up in Russia’s X-47M2 hypersonic ballistic missile, the Russian Silok-01 electronic warfare system, used to jam drones, Russia’s Kamaz Typhoon armoured vehicle, an armoured Russian field ambulance and the Russian 2S5 Giatsint-S self-propelled howitzer gun.

The database matches components from this military equipment with three suppliers in Canada including Ottawa-based Tallysman Wireless, Burlington, Ont.-based Gennum Corp. and Montreal-based Aimtec.

Antennas and related components by Tallysman, which has since been purchased by Ottawa-based Calian Group, have been found in the Iranian and Russian drones, the project by NACP found. Electronic components by Gennum Corp., which has been acquired by U.S. company Semtech and renamed Semtech Canada, have been found in one of the Iranian drones. Electronics from Aimtec have been found in the Russian armoured vehicle, armoured ambulance, howitzer and electronic warfare system.

Canada isn’t the only Western country whose products – often relatively simple electronic parts – have ended up in weapons manufactured by Russia and its allies.

While some of this Western technology is subject to export controls, much is not. That’s because simple components are not normally deemed sensitive equipment by Western governments looking to stem the flow of military goods to unfriendly states.

In an August, 2023, report, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a British defence think tank, detailed the extent to which Russia’s military modernization program relied on the extensive use of microelectronics manufactured in at least nine Western countries.

It discovered at least 450 kinds of unique foreign-made components in Russian military systems, the majority of which were manufactured by U.S. companies.

Calian Group spokesperson Kristina Davis in a statement said it complies with all export controls and rules set by Canada and international agencies.

She said the company thinks the Tallysman-labelled parts identified by the Ukrainian database were obtained and stockpiled before Russia’s assault began. “Some Tallysman antennas were acquired before the conflict under false pretenses,” Ms. Davis said. Whoever procured them invested “significant engineering effort” before the parts “were then used for malevolent purposes.”

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Raisa Nazarenko stands in front of her shattered ground floor apartment in Selydove.THOMAS PETER/Reuters

Ms. Davis said Calian has intensified its scrutiny over sales since Russia’s attack on Ukraine began and Western sanctions were applied. She said today there is a “strict control over which customers are allowed to purchase our products globally.”

The Calian spokesperson said the company is collaborating with the Canadian government and distributors to prevent its components from being used in an unauthorized manner and it’s confident this effort has achieved results in ensuring products are “exclusively sold to legitimate entities” and illicit supply channels are shut down.

“We remain steadfast in our dedication to supporting Ukraine amidst Russia’s ongoing aggression,” Ms. Davis said.

In a statement to The Globe and Mail, Montreal-based Aimtec said its products are not meant for military purposes and don’t have military certifications. It said the cited products are commodities with varied industrial and commercial uses and noted the components are older products. It said it asks distributors to respect U.S. and Canadian trade compliance regulations and requires consignees to whom the product is delivered to sign statements saying the products won’t be sold to military clients. It said it also conducts security checks regularly, consulting lists of entities under trade restrictions by the United States or Canada to ensure compliance.

Gennum (Semtech) did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

Global Affairs spokesperson Charlotte MacLeod did not directly address the identified Canadian components but said Ottawa has imposed extensive sanctions on Russia since February, 2022, including to prohibit the export to Russia and Belarus of various goods such as items that can be used to manufacture weapons.

Kelsey Gallagher, a researcher at the disarmament and international security research institute Project Ploughshares, said the Canadian government needs to act given that these components are being used in mass drone attacks in Ukraine.

“Some of the drones that these pieces of technology are reportedly being used in have been used to kill Ukrainian civilians. They have been used in these sort of mass-wave attacks including in Kyiv that have killed dozens of civilians at once, but also targeted critical civilian infrastructure,” he said.

He said it is imperative Ottawa constantly upgrade its export control list to include these types of dual-use components.

“These goods should absolutely be regulated and if not for military end use, then certainly in their capacity of dual-use goods and there should be a greater degree of transparency afforded to Canadian transfers of dual-use goods,” Mr. Gallagher said.

Orest Zakydalsky, senior policy adviser at the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, said Ottawa should impose a total trade embargo on Russia for its brutal war against Ukraine.

“If the West did that, that would be a fairly simple way to stop it from happening because you just don’t have trade with a country that is committing genocide against Ukraine,” he said.

Since the Canadian government isn’t willing to do that, Mr. Zakydalsky said Ottawa should at least enforce the sanctions currently in place and dedicate resources to keep updating the list.

Lawyer John Boscariol, head of McCarthy Tétrault’s trade and investment group, said Canadian products ending up in countries facing sanctions typically were stockpiled before sanctions were applied or they are being routed, without the manufacturers’ knowledge, through “multiple layers of distribution.” He said the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Malaysia have been previously cited by customs officials as diversion points.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that parts from Edmonton-based Integrated Rectifier Technologies (IRT) were found in Russian missiles. The Ukrainian government agency's database of foreign components in weapons misidentified IRT as the manufacturer. This version has been updated.

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