British Engineering Giant Smiths Group Accused of Funding Russia’s War Machine

Smiths Group plc, a British engineering company with over a century of history is under fire for continuing its operations in Russia’s energy sector, a key enabler of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine.

Smiths Group plc, a British engineering company with over a century of history is under fire for continuing its operations in Russia’s energy sector, a key enabler of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.

According to a Brussels-based outlet EU Reporter, recent documents from the Russian register of legal entities, dated May 30, 2024, have exposed that Smiths Group plc, through its subsidiary John Crane UK, still holds a 50% stake in Russia-based John Crane Iskra LLC.

This Russian company produces specialized parts for engines and compressors, supplying major clients like state-owned gas producer Gazprom and Russia’s largest independent oil producer Lukoil. Many of these clients are under UK, EU, and US sanctions. Shockingly, John Crane Iskra LLC is registered at the same address as the EU-sanctioned JSC Research and Production Association “ISKRA”, a huge equipment supplier for Russia’s fuel and energy sector, writes Louis Auge from EU Reporter.

In 2023, ISKRA’s revenues skyrocketed by nearly 30%, exceeding $70 million, a staggering increase during Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, John Crane Iskra LLC – a key contractor for ISKRA – saw its revenues more than double from $10 million to $22 million, according to EU Reporter.

The implications of this financial growth are deeply troubling, writes EU Reporter. The taxes paid by John Crane Iskra LLC, half-owned by Smiths Group, directly contribute to the Russian budget, effectively supporting military activities in Ukraine.

In simpler terms, it seems that a British company is not only continuing its operations in Russia’s energy sector—a crucial enabler of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine—but also funding the war through its subsidiary’s tax payments, concludes Brussels outlet.

A Financial Times investigation published in May has also uncovered the surprising extent of Western corporate presence in Russia despite vocal condemnations and sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine. Among the companies still maintaining a presence in Russia are BP, TotalEnergies, P&G, Reckitt, Unilever, PepsiCo, and many more.

A Smiths Group spokesperson said: “We wholeheartedly reject the misleading insinuations made by EU Reporter about John Crane. At the commencement of the war in Ukraine and, as has been stated publicly, we confirmed that we had suspended all sales to Russia and that our interests in Russia had been fully written down. This continues to be the case, and John Crane receives nothing from this joint venture. Further, we sought (on various fronts) and continue to seek an exit from the John Crane Iskra joint venture. Our ability to achieve this is dependent on Russian government approval and therefore outside of our control. Therefore, whilst we still are currently unable to formally exit the joint venture, we have neither ongoing involvement nor influence on its operations, and any implication that we are actively involved in Russia’s energy sector and therefore financing the war in Ukraine is categorically false.”