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US delivers warning to China over support for Russia’s war against Ukraine

Russia has managed to maintain its economic stability and even enhance its defense industry, largely due to expanded trade relations with China.
Russian dsisinformation narratives
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US delivers warning to China over support for Russia’s war against Ukraine

On April 6, 2024, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued a firm warning to China regarding the potential consequences if Chinese companies were found supporting Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. 

The warning was conveyed during meetings with Chinese Vice Minister He Lifeng in Guangzhou, marking one of the most direct messages the US has delivered to Beijing in the context of the war, Financial Times reports.

Secretary Yellen emphasized the importance of ensuring that companies, including those in China, refrain from providing material support to Russia’s war efforts. The discussions come in the wake of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s revelations to EU and NATO foreign ministers, highlighting China’s concerning level of assistance to Moscow. Blinken noted that Beijing’s support extends to providing tools, inputs, and technical expertise, particularly in the realms of optical equipment production, propellants, and the space sector.

The US and its Western allies have implemented numerous sanctions and trade embargoes against Russia, aiming to weaken its economy and military capabilities. Despite these measures, Russia has managed to maintain its economic stability and even enhance its defense industry, largely due to expanded trade relations with China and imports of dual-use goods from third countries.

Blinken urged allies to address their concerns directly with China, advocate publicly against the deepening cooperation between Beijing and Moscow, and take action against entities bolstering Russia’s industrial base. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg echoed these concerns, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between Russia and China in sustaining Moscow’s military endeavors.

President Joe Biden also addressed the issue in a recent phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, expressing concerns about China’s support for Russia’s defense industrial base and its implications for European and transatlantic security. This conversation underscored the growing apprehension within the US administration regarding China’s role in the war.

The US has previously issued strong warnings to China following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which led Beijing to reconsider plans to provide military equipment to Russia. However, skepticism persists among some allies regarding the extent of Chinese assistance to the Russian defense sector.

China’s trade with Russia has surged since 2020, FT writes, with bilateral trade reaching $240 billion in the last year. Despite Beijing’s assertions of neutrality and non-lethal support to Russia, the US and its allies accuse China of providing tacit backing to Moscow’s war efforts. Chinese officials and academics have been closely monitoring Russia’s response to sanctions, seeking insights on how to navigate potential conflicts with the West, particularly concerning Taiwan.

China’s involvement in supporting Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine has been a topic of concern and scrutiny. Despite facing sanctions, Russia has continued to receive support from China in various forms. 

China has been providing Russia with drones and surveillance equipment, which are being used on the Ukrainian battlefield. These drones not only aid Russia’s military efforts but also allow China to gather crucial battlefield intelligence that could enhance its own war readiness.

China has secretly supplied Russia with over $100 million worth of military equipment, including drones, body armor components, and thermal imagers, crucial for sustaining Russia’s military operations in Ukraine.

Despite sanctions targeting the Russian aviation industry, aircraft parts manufactured by Western companies like Boeing and Airbus have still been imported by Russian companies. China has emerged as the leading exporter of parts for airplanes, spacecraft, and drones to Russia, accounting for about half of all Russian imports in this category.

Related:

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Most of Russia’s drones come from China, Russian Finance Minister admits

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