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US officials: Beijing provides Moscow with components to boost military production

US officials report China is supplying Russia with crucial components for missiles, drones, and military equipment, enabling Moscow to ramp up defense production amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine, raising calls for increased sanctions.
xinping putin china dictators
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) after the signing ceremony of joint documents at the SCO summit in Shanghai. May 21, 2014. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS
US officials: Beijing provides Moscow with components to boost military production

As per a new US intelligence assessment, China provides Russia with significant quantities of components that are enabling Moscow to ramp up its military production and capabilities for the ongoing war in Ukraine, according to reporting from both Bloomberg and the Associated Press, referring to anonymous senior Biden Administration officials.

According to an official cited in the Bloomberg report, China is supplying Russia with a range of critical materials, including for the manufacture of cruise missiles, drones, and military optics for tanks and armored vehicles. The officials, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, stated that without these Chinese-supplied components, Russia’s military-industrial base would struggle to sustain its war effort.

The AP report, citing two unnamed senior Biden administration officials, provided additional details. They stated that in the last quarter of 2023, around 70% of Russia’s machine tool imports and 90% of its microelectronics imports came from China, which Russia has used to produce missiles, tanks, and aircraft for the conflict in Ukraine.

Additionally, the US alleges that Chinese and Russian entities are collaborating to produce unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) within Russia, and that Chinese companies are likely providing Russia with nitrocellulose, a key ingredient used in the production of ammunition, according to the AP.

The White House is now urging Chinese firms to cease their support for Russia’s war effort and is encouraging European allies to apply pressure on Beijing to end sales from companies like Wuhan Global Sensor Technology Co., Wuhan Tongsheng Technology Co. Ltd., and Hikvision, which are providing these critical components, the Bloomberg report stated.

China provides geospatial intel and other military support to Russia, US says

The officials told AP that Russian tanks and armored vehicles are equipped with military optics manufactured by Chinese firms iRay Technology and North China Research Institute of Electro-Optics, with China also supplying Russia with UAV engines and turbojet engines for cruise missiles.

“While there is no evidence China is providing lethal assistance, people familiar with the US intelligence assessment characterized the aid as just as significant, saying that without the imports, Russia’s military industrial base would struggle,” says Bloomberg.

The revelations come as the US has sought to crack down on firms that are helping Russia evade the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies following the 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that any companies providing material support for Russia’s war will face significant consequences, and that banks facilitating such transactions “expose themselves to the risk of US sanctions,” according to the AP report.

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

The Biden administration has raised its concerns with China, including during a recent call between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as at a summit between the leaders last year. However, Chinese officials have claimed that the country is not taking sides in the conflict and that some of the technology being provided has dual-use, with both commercial and military applications, the AP report said.

The US sanctions office is investigating several companies linked to chip shipments that ultimately reach Russia, including those produced by US-based microelectronics manufacturers.

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