“A family was trying to escape but was killed by Russian murderers,” tweeted presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak. “Killed, as it is now proved, with French weapons sold in circumvention of sanctions in 2015.”
Reached by AFP, Thales, whose largest shareholder is the French state, denied violating the sanctions that were imposed after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014.
“Thales has always strictly complied with French and international regulations, including concerning the 2014 European sanctions against Russia,” the group said.
“No defence equipment export contract has been signed with Russia since 2014 and no delivery has been made to Russia since the start of the conflict in Ukraine”, said the company, adding that it has decided to cease operations in Russia.
In his Twitter post, Podolyak referenced a video made by Ukrainian blogger Pavlo Kashchuk, who examined a car found in the town of Bucha outside of Kyiv, where Ukraine accuses Russian forces of massacring hundreds of civilians.
Kashchuk said the car, in which a woman’s body was found, was riddled with holes from shells fired from armoured vehicles from a large distance.
“How could poorly trained Russian soldiers shoot so accurately with old post-Soviet equipment?” Kashchuk asked.
He said he found the answer to this question in the nearby town of Vorzel, where Ukrainian forces captured four of Russia’s BMD-4 armoured vehicles.
Kashchuk said those vehicles were equipped with sophisticated fire control systems, technology that had been sold to Russia by Thales.
In his video the blogger also showed a thermal camera which he says was recovered from an abandoned Russian tank. The Thales logo is visible on it, accompanied by the date 06/16 and the words “made in Russia.”
Kashchuk said it was assembled in Russia using Thales components.
“It’s just one of the many schemes allowing Western companies to circumvent the embargo and continue supplying the Russian army of evil with the most state-of-the-art military technologies,” he said.
The accusations follow a March report by the investigative outlet Disclose, which found that France had delivered military equipment, including thermal cameras, to Russia between 2015 and 2020.
The French Defence Ministry said it was fulfilling contracts concluded before the sanctions were adopted in July 2014, under the so-called grandfathering clause.