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Belarusian Monitoring Group suspects Chinese military deliveries to Minsk by Air China cargo jets

The alleged military shipment could end up on the Russian-Ukrainian frontline, surpassing Western sanctions.
Air China Cargo Boeing 747-4FTF. Photo: Wikimedia

Air China Cargo made four flights from Urumqi to Minsk, Belarus between 8 and 11 January, likely delivering military equipment, reports Belarusian monitoring group Belarusian Hajun. On each of four days, the same Boeing 747 freighter (registration number: B-2476) touched down in Minsk carrying unknown cargo at around 9:30-10:10 a.m. local time and departed roughly three hours later on each trip, which is enough time to unload the military shipment, Hajun suggests.

In contrast to regular cargo flights that make use of Minsk Airport’s logistical facilities, B-2476 consistently parked at the designated spot reserved for aircraft transporting Belarusian officials. Satellite imagery confirms that during its four visits, the Chinese aircraft occupied this exclusive government ramp. This VIP stand is positioned apart from other facilities, enhancing security and enabling the freighter to bypass customs control procedures.

According to Belarusian Hajun, B-2476 delivered military equipment from China to Belarus without undergoing customs clearance. The cargo quickly left the airport to avoid attracting attention, as there was limited space for military cargo parking.

Chinese CS/VN3 Dajiang (“Dragon”) armored vehicles have been in service with the Armed Forces of Belarus since 2017. This possible delivery of Chinese armored vehicles to Belarus is reminiscent of a previous shipment in 2018 shown on Belarusian TV when a similar cargo aircraft from Air China Cargo was used. A Boeing 747 may well bring at least four or five such armored vehicles on a single flight, according to the monitoring group.

Also, Belarus utilizes Chinese parts in its domestic Polonez multiple rocket launch systems.

“It’s still unknown what exactly was brought by the four boards this time. But everything points to the fact that it is a military cargo,” Belarusian Hajun concludes.

Ukrainian military portal Defense Express reports that there is a possibility of China “secretly” supplying weapons through Belarus that will eventually end up in the Russian army.

“But it is more likely that the Chinese airplane brought weapons for the Belarusian armed forces”, Defense Express says.

What we know about China and Belarus’ role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine:
  • Officially, China denies providing military assistance to Russia. However, according to the US Department of Defense, Chinese companies (including state-owned ones) have sold dual-use products, small arms, drones, navigation equipment, and protective gear to the Russian military.
  • In November 2023, the Ukrainian Security Service destroyed Russia’s far-east railway tunnel — reportedly the only significant rail link between Russia and China — cutting off a crucial weapon supply channel.
  • Despite not declaring war on Ukraine officially, Belarus has been Russia’s top ally in its invasion since February 2022. The European Parliament recognized the Belarusian regime as an accomplice to Russian war crimes, including Ukrainian children’s deportation and the firing of missiles at Ukraine’s residential areas in the early stages of the war.
  • As of September 2023, only one Russian fighter jet and 2,100 Russian troops remained in Belarus. This is not enough to invade again, however, Belarus doesn’t cease to support the aggressor country, so this area continues to be reinforced and mined along the entire borderline.
  • Russia reportedly delivered some of its nuclear warheads to Belarus last fall, according to Ukrainian military intelligence.

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