EU member states exported weapons to Russia after the 2014 embargo

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Italy

Publishing organisation: Investigate Europe, Mediapart, Tagesspiegel, Il Fatto Quotidiano, Efsyntakon, Publico, InfoLibre, Fronstory.pl

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 2022-03-17

Language: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Polish, Portuguese

Authors: Laure Brillaud, Ana Curic, Maria Maggiore, Leïla Miñano, Nico Schmidt


Investigate Europe is a cross-border consortium that involves journalists from eleven European countries. We research as a multinational team. We share, merge and crosscheck facts – tackling the usual national bias. We point out responsible transnational structures and actors in issues of European-wide relevance to make it possible to hold them accountable.

Project description:

Missiles, aircraft, rockets, torpedoes, bombs. Russia continued to buy EU weapons until at least 2020. Despite the ongoing embargo, ten member states exported € 346 million worth of military equipment, according to data analysed by Investigate Europe. Some of these weapons could be used against Ukraine now.

Impact reached:

The investigation has been published in 7 important newspapers of 7 different EU countries, reaching millions of readers, even in North America, thanks to the interest of a Canadian radio who interviewed our journalists. The investigation had a great impact on public opinion, showing the hypocrisy of states, committed to continuing to do business by circumventing the ban. After our invastigation EU closed the loophole that allowed European countries to continue to sell weapons to Russia despite the 2014 embargo on arms sales.

Techniques/technologies used:

Mainly OSINT techniques.

Context about the project:

It has been difficult to fact check every single open data with national documents we requested to the governments and not always they have been availabe to deliver them or help us to get a correct interpretation of the data.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

That is possible to do great investigations analyzing and combining open source data, working in a crossboarder team that allows to have a general framework that goes beyond the national boundaries. Besides, the crossborder cooperations allowed to share the results in many languages with different national media partners which published at the same time, creating a bigger impact on the european public opinion.

Project links: