Investigative journalists Juliet Linderman and Martha Mendoza documented that six months into the war in Ukraine, U.S. companies continue to import billions of dollars worth of Russian goods despite tough talk by the Biden administration about cutting Russia off from global markets.

Working with data journalist Larry Fenn, the reporters combed through thousands of records tracking every shipment coming from Russia to determine whether they were the result of illegal smuggling or exceptions to the sanctions. The team found the latter was true: Millions of tons of Russian goods — from plywood to steel to auto parts — have continued to flow into the U.S. legally. The resulting story revealed a complex patchwork of sanctions, and that the U.S. continues to buy goods from Russian state-owned companies also supplying materials to Russia’s military.

The piece countered common perceptions of the sanctions against Russia and was played widely, engaging readers.