When Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, C4ADS immediately committed to supporting the Ukrainian people in the fight for their continued freedom and independence. Since then, we’ve countered illicit, malign, and unlawful Russian operations around the world through collaborative efforts to accurately monitor the conflict and its consequences, asset tracking and sanctions enforcement campaigns, investigations into private Russian military companies, the mapping of Russia’s global military procurement network, and support of investigative journalists.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — When Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, C4ADS immediately committed to supporting the Ukrainian people in the fight for their continued freedom and independence. Since then, we’ve countered illicit, malign, and unlawful Russian operations around the world through collaborative efforts to accurately monitor the conflict and its consequences, asset tracking and sanctions enforcement campaigns, investigations into private Russian military companies, the mapping of Russia’s global military procurement network, and support of investigative journalists.
In mid-2022, we partnered with the UK-based Centre for Information Resilience to build and launch an interactive, live map to help anyone with Internet access visualize the real-world consequences of Putin’s military adventurism. A powerful, public tool to track the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Eyes on Russia Map immediately proved its value as activists, journalists, researchers, and the broader public alike harnessed the power of easily-accessible publicly available information to inform their own work around this conflict.
That same year, we worked with The New York Times Visual Investigations team to identify the Russian paratroopers responsible for numerous war crimes and dozens of civilian deaths in Bucha — a story that recently won the paper a 2023 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. Our analysts spent countless hours combing through databases of Russian passports, phone numbers, and more to help the NYT identify those responsible for this deliberate and systematic massacre — and to hold them responsible.
C4ADS has spent years working to understand the Russian political economy and its extensive global security apparatus. When Putin invaded Ukraine, we narrowed our focus to track the influence and impact of one particular private military company (PMC) responsible for egregious crimes against humanity: oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group.
Since our 2019 Paper Trails investigation, we have tracked the financial flows of Wagner Group (most recently in the African mining sector), mapping their corporate network and foreign ties. As we continue to build out these efforts, we have collected evidence of Wagner Group-affiliated companies actively working to destabilize foreign countries — like Sudan — through the supply of arms, defense technology, and political support, all while exploiting the natural resources of these vulnerable societies.
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Since launching the C4ADS Dubai Property Database last year, we have connected approximately $400 million — spread across at least 76 properties — in the city’s luxury real estate market to politically-exposed Belarussian and Russian actors. As a key secrecy jurisdiction, Dubai attracts every kind of malign actor, from international kleptocrats to narcotics traffickers seeking to use the region’s gaps in law enforcement to launder or store ill-gotten gains (including aircraft and vessels).
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we have also supported 18 different sanctions designations against the aggressor’s global military procurement network.
Our 2022 Trade Secrets report mapped trade in sensitive technologies between state-owned Chinese companies and the Russian defense sector. Since the release of that report, we have continued to focus our efforts on depriving the Russian military industry of key engineering technologies by mapping and publicizing the flow of sensitive dual-use items in an effort to assist government actors and others as they work to choke off Moscow’s war machine.
Just last month, we shared an update to Trade Secrets, outlining evidence of increased wartime trade in sensitive defense technologies between these already-defined Chinese conglomerates and now-sanctioned Russian defense companies — as well as the presence of one key entity, Poly Technologies, in Western supply chains and capital markets. Open Secrets is a critical addition to this still-ongoing effort, and demonstrates our commitment to frustrating Russian military procurement networks globally.
As we continue to ramp up our support to Ukraine in its fight for freedom, C4ADS is implementing a suite of training programs for international journalists, Ukrainian civil society, and government partners on a diverse array of publicly available tools and methodologies. It’s our hope that this support will harden Kyiv’s ability to withstand malign Russian influence campaigns, and provide another offensive opportunity to expose and disrupt the Russian government’s unjust war against Ukraine.
As this war continues, Putin’s military ambition shows no signs of slowing — and neither do we. C4ADS remains committed to supporting efforts to combat the Russian presence in Ukraine through our analysis, data holdings, and investigative capabilities. The invasion of Ukraine, and the malign activities that enable it worldwide, directly violate our organizational values. We will continue to do our part to support the Ukrainian struggle for sovereignty, and welcome allies and partners in the fight for the peace, freedom, and security of our global community.
For additional information about our work supporting Ukraine in its fight for democracy and independence, please visit the dedicated initiative page on our website or reach out to us at [email protected]. To support these efforts, please make your tax-deductable donation here. For any related media inquiries, please email [email protected].