Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, China, through a network of companies and intermediaries, has supplied Russia with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and spare parts for them worth $12 million, The New York Times writes , citing official Russian customs data received from a source.
According to the publication, it is difficult to confirm information about whether Chinese companies supply equipment with American technology, violating sanctions. Also, according to the NYT, there is a possibility that Chinese corporations are selling UAVs to the Russian Federation through supply chains in Belarus, Kazakhstan or Pakistan. The shipments, which were mostly products from DJI, the world's most famous drone manufacturer, and a number of smaller companies, were often carried out through small intermediaries and exporters.
In the article, the authors also say that last month, the administration of US President Joe Biden promised to punish companies that sell Russian technology that is used in the war against Ukraine. However, the continued supply of Chinese drones all this time proves why this will be difficult to do.
Complex sales channels and unclear product descriptions in export data also make it difficult to unambiguously identify the presence of US ingredients in Chinese products, which may constitute a violation of US export controls. And official sales are likely only part of a larger flow of technology through informal channels and other Russian-friendly countries such as Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Belarus.
As a result, Russia is constantly receiving new drones that end up on the front lines in the war with Ukraine. They often make only a few flights before being shot down, so resupplying even the simplest UAVs has become just as important as supplying other weapons. The publication emphasizes that in military, diplomatic and economic terms, Beijing is becoming an increasingly important support for Russia. China is one of the biggest buyers of Russian oil and is helping finance the invasion.
On March 21, Putin and Xi Jinping met in the Kremlin and signed two documents: on economic cooperation and expanding the partnership of states. Putin concluded by saying that the documents "fully reflect the special nature of Russian-Chinese relations, which are at the highest level of development in history." Separately, he noted that China's peace plan can be taken as the basis for ending the war ( Putin used the phrase "settlement in Ukraine", - approx. The Insider ), when the West and Kiev are "ready" for it.