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Blogger Kristina Puzyreva pleads guilty to sending $7 million worth of drone and missile parts from the U.S. to Russia

32-year-old Instagram influencer and traveler Kristina Puzyreva, a Russian-Canadian national, recently pleaded guilty to taking part in a scheme to send components used in drones and guided missile systems from the U.S. to Russia, according to a Vice report citing a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

“Kristina Puzyreva and her co-defendants allegedly purchased and dispatched millions of dollars in U.S.-sourced electronics to support the Kremlin in its ongoing attacks of Ukraine. Her money laundering conspiracy was directly linked to 298 shipments of restricted technology, valued at $7 million, to the Russian battlefield,” Erin Keegan, a Special Agent in charge of the investigation, said in the press release on Monday.

The Vice report notes that a significant portion of the “world’s best” semiconductors are manufactured by American companies. Russia has to buy them indirectly as it does not produce them.

According to the DoJ’s press release, Puzyreva and her husband Nikolai Goltsev did business with their co-defendant Salimdzhon Nasriddinov in Brooklyn, buying electronics through shell companies and then shipping them to Russia. Many of the parts had serial numbers, making it easy to link the goods to those who purchased them.

As noted by the investigation, “the scheme involved millions of dollars in transactions and was lucrative for the defendants.”

For example, in a text message exchange on or about January 13, 2023, Goltsev complained to Puzyreva that a co-conspirator “asked me to make 80 accounts . . . I am making accounts for 3 mln [i.e., million]. Fingers hurting already from the laptop.” Puzyreva responded, “Lot of money? We will get rich.”

Puzyreva is yet to be sentenced, but could face up to 20 years in prison. Her husband and their associate Salimdzhon Nasriddinov are both awaiting trial.

In January this year, an investigation by The Insider revealed that GRU officer Viktor Labin, who lives in Brussels, less than two miles from European Commission and NATO headquarters, supplied the Russian defense industry with coordinate-measuring machines used in the production of weapons.

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