New York man and Canadian citizen plead guilty to exporting U.S. electronics used in Russian weapons to Ukraine

A Canadian citizen and a New York resident pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegally exporting millions of dollars worth of U.S. electronics that were used in Russian weapons to Ukraine. The Ministry of Justice said.

Nikolay Goltsev, 38, of Montreal, and Salimdzhon Nasriddinov, 53, of Brooklyn, face up to 20 years in prison for plotting to violate export controls, the ministry said in a statement.

Federal prosecutors say some of the electronic components shipped by the suspects were found in seized Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence equipment in Ukraine, including an airborne anti-missile system, Ka-52 helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and battle tanks.

Russia Ukraine
In this photo, taken from a video released by the press service of the Russian Ministry of Defense on Friday, April 12, 2024, a Russian Air Force Ka-52 helicopter fires missiles at a target at an unknown location in Ukraine.

/AP


“The defendants shipped millions of dollars of U.S. electronics critical to the missiles and drones Russia is using to attack Ukraine, and they now face U.S. prison time for their plot,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “As Russia continues to wage its unjust war of aggression against Ukraine, the Department remains committed to holding accountable those who fuel Putin’s war machine.”

According to court documents, Goltsev, Nasriddinov and Goltsev's wife Kristina Puzyreva, who pleaded guilty in February, conspired to ship more than $7 million worth of U.S. dual-use electronics to Russian companies that had been subject to sanctions.

“Some of these components were critical to Russia's precision-guided weapons systems deployed against Ukraine,” the Justice Department said.

In a message dated February 23, 2023, prosecutors said Nasriddinov wrote to Goltsev: “Happy Defender of the Fatherland,” referring to the holiday in Russia honoring military veterans. Goltsev replied: “Happy holidays to you too, my friend, we defend it in the way we can [smile emoji].”

The US expanded existing sanctions and export controls on Russia following the country's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. At the time, Russia was already facing sanctions related to its 2014 invasion of Ukraine, use of chemical weapons and election interference.

Nasriddinov and Goltsev shipped the parts through front companies to several countries, including Turkey, India, China and the United Arab Emirates. From there, they were forwarded to Russia.

Goltsev, who holds dual Russian-Canadian citizenship, and Nasriddinov, who holds dual Russian-Tajik citizenship, are scheduled to be sentenced in December in a New York federal court.

Puzyreva is awaiting her verdict.

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