China Undermining US Sanctions To Aid Russia’s War In Ukraine, Report Finds

(Photo by SERGEI BOBYLYOV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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China is subverting international sanctions and export controls to provide critical technology to Russia for its war in Ukraine, according to a review of customs data by The Wall Street Journal.

Defense companies owned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have been shipping jamming technology, fighter jet parts and navigation tools to Russian defense companies that are currently subject to sanctions, according to the WSJ report. Russian state-owned defense companies have received tens of thousands of shipments of dual-use products, meaning they have both civilian and military uses, according to nonprofit C4ADS, mostly from China.

Russia relies on imports of key technology like semiconductors to maintain its wartime manufacturing as it fights in Ukraine, experts say. The U.S., Europe and most of their allies have applied sanctions blocking the shipment of such technologies to Russia since the war began, but countries like China and Turkey have not agreed to those restrictions, providing Moscow an out to continue its aggression in Ukraine.

Turkey has maintained that Western sanctions, aimed at destroying the Russian war economy, are ineffective, while China has used the rift between Moscow and its adversaries to welcome the Kremlin further into its sphere of influence.

“Russia has enough technological potential to ensure its security and conduct the special military operation. This potential is constantly being improved,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in response to the WSJ report.

A review of records for over 84,000 shipments showed that Russia’s imports of computer chips and their components have nearly returned to pre-war levels. Monthly chip imports from China have doubled since April 2022.

The WSJ identified more than a dozen companies in Russia and China engaged in shipments that are subject to U.S. sanctions. U.S. officials have said they are preparing new sanctions against entities aiding Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“Despite international scrutiny and sanctions protocols, reliable global trade data shows that Chinese state-owned defense companies continue to send military-applicable parts to sanctioned Russian defense companies,” C4ADS analyst Naomi Garcia said. “These Russian companies have been recorded using these same types of parts directly in Russia’s war in Ukraine.” (RELATED: Xi Jinping Sets Sights On Taiwan Invasion By 2027, CIA Director Says)

China has sought to maintain a delicate diplomatic balance since the war began. Beijing has said it opposes both the war and the sanctions that have followed, and denied aiding and abetting Russia’s invasion directly: “The allegation that China provides ‘aid’ to Russia has no factual basis, but is purely speculative and deliberately hyped up,” spokesman for China’s Embassy in Washington Liu Pengyu told the WSJ.

Aid for Russia’s war was set to be on the agenda for Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s talks with top Chinese official scheduled for this weekend, but that trip was postponed after the discovery of an alleged Chinese spy balloon hovering over the United States in recent days.