Vilnius-based Yukon Advanced Optics Worldwide says it's ceasing operations in Russia

  • 2023-06-20
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Yukon Advanced Optics Worldwide, a Vilnius-based Belarusian-owned optical equipment manufacturer, said on Monday it’s in the process of winding up its operations in Russia and it is no longer producing or selling its products in Russia and Belarus.

The company's statement followed the Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT's report earlier in the day that Yukon has so far not withdrawn from Russia.

"Mezon-A (the group's company in Russia - BNS) booked new transactions with Russian customers for 165,000 euros since the beginning of the war in 2022, and there were no sales at all in 2023," the company said in its statement.

The company has no production staff and has only 9 administrative staff, it said, adding that they are necessary to ensure its liquidation process. 

According to the LRT, Yukon Advanced Optics Worldwide announced last year it was suspending operations at its facility in Smolensk, Russia, due to the war. However, operations there are still ongoing. Data collected by the LRT and its international partners from Scanner Project Mezon-A has received at least 2.3 million euros in product sales from its Russian customers since the start of the war, and its main customers included the CEK group, an optics group that sells optical devices and receives orders from Russia's defense sector.

Belarusian-made Yukon Advanced Optics Worldwide-branded Pulsar night sights were handed over to Russian forces fighting in Ukraine in February, and dozens of cases of Pulsar equipment being sent to the front have also been identified by journalists, the LRT says.

For its part, Yukon says all of these devices entered Russian hands through illegal channels despite the company's ban.

"The company told the LRT that "the spotted device was manufactured in the Republic of Belarus before 2020, before the reduction of the factory's production volumes (...). Therefore, we do not rule that it was purchased on the secondary market", the company said in its statement.

According to the LRT, Yukon Advanced Optics Worldwide representatives say devices sold earlier, not in 2022, might have ended up on the front-line, adding that the company cannot control individual cases of equipment ending up on the front-line.