China Is Increasing Its Backing For Putin’s Military Campaign In Ukraine By Providing Tank Components, Rocket Fuel, And Other Related Equipment

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China Is Increasing Its Backing For Putin's Military Campaign In Ukraine By Providing Tank Components, Rocket Fuel, And Other Related Equipment

China has intensified its support for the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine by dispatching rifle scopes, tank components, rocket fuel, and satellite imagery to Russia, as per US officials.

This warning emerged just before Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s two-day visit to China to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

According to reports by US officials speaking to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity, Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, briefed European allies this week regarding China’s increased assistance to Russia.

It was revealed that China was also supplying microelectronics, propellants used in missile production, and turbojet engines to Russia, bypassing Western sanctions.

While Vladimir Putin has sought strong ties with China since the invasion of Ukraine, Beijing had previously seemed hesitant to openly support Russia’s military efforts. However, with Russia gaining ground in eastern Ukraine, Beijing’s stance appears to have shifted.

Russia’s superior firepower over Ukrainian forces stems partly from the West’s struggles in delivering promised ammunition. Conversely, the Kremlin has converted civilian factories to produce arms and struck deals with Iran and North Korea for drone and artillery shell supplies.

Analysts suggest that China may now quietly support Russia’s military efforts due to its perception of Russia’s advantage in the conflict. Carl Bildt, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank and former Swedish Prime Minister, commented that while Beijing refrains from supplying arms due to fears of US secondary sanctions and its desire to cultivate relations with the EU, it still provides crucial machinery to sustain Russia’s arms production.

Previously, the Kremlin announced Putin’s plans to visit China in May. During a visit to Moscow last year, Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping proclaimed an unrestricted partnership.

Although US-led sanctions have impacted Russia’s industrial base, they have proven less effective than anticipated. Products enter Russia through former Soviet states in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, which purchase goods from the West before reselling them to Russia. Additionally, Hong Kong has emerged as a significant pathway for essential microchip imports.

Sergei Lavrov shaking hands with Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, in Beijing on Oct 16 2023

Secondary sanctions have been imposed by the US on numerous Chinese enterprises, and Janet Yellen, the US Treasury Secretary, has cautioned China about the “substantial repercussions” of supporting Putin.

 “We’ve been clear with China that we see Russia as gaining support from goods that China, Chinese firms are supplying to Russia,” she said during a trip to Guangzhou.

However, Jessica Berlin, a non-resident fellow at the Centre for European Policy Analysis think tank, suggested that China might have grown accustomed to such warnings and deemed them insubstantial.

 “They’ve observed the US response to smaller, discrete support for Russia for two years and conclude that they have little to no consequences to fear,” she said.

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