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FT: US intelligence report suggests China refused Wagner mercenary group's request for arms

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 20, 2023 5:00 PM 3 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

A leaked U.S. intelligence report shows that China refused the Russian Wagner mercenary group's request for weapons, the Financial Times reported on April 20.

According to FT, Wagner's direct request to China suggested "it had some confidence Beijing would be open to arming Moscow, going beyond other non-lethal forms of support for the military campaign provided by Chinese companies."

However, as of early January, China had not supplied Wagner with any weapons – "not even for testing" – nor had it been in contact with the mercenary group, FT wrote.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on April 14 that his country wouldn't sell weaponry to either side of the Russia-Ukraine war.

In recent months, U.S. officials sounded the alarm that China is considering sending lethal aid to Russia for its war against Ukraine. However, Beijing has denied the allegations.

National Security and Defense Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said in an interview on April 16 Ukraine hasn't found any Chinese weapons used by Russia on the battlefield.

"In the event that this changes, we will promptly notify both (Ukrainian) society and the world. However, considering China's involvement in world affairs, it is unclear why they would choose to supply weapons to the Russian Federation at this time," Danilov said.

The US intelligence report cited by FT allegedly included Wagner's request to China for weapons alongside similar requests to Belarus and Syria, Russia's close allies.

According to FT, the report says that Belarus had "already delivered 50 percent of unspecified weapons promised" and offered to send Wagner 300,000 VOG-17 grenade launcher rounds by early January.

The mercenary group also purchased six SPG-9 grenade launchers and 180 grenades in Syria, but the report doesn't specify when, FT wrote.

Wagner affiliates also attempted to purchase drones, electronic warfare systems, counter-battery systems, and howitzer artillery in Turkey but were told by their contacts that it was not possible to export many of the weapons, according to FT.

Another U.S. intelligence report cited by FT suggests that Wagner intends to resume its recruitment of prisoners. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Wagner, previously claimed on Feb. 9 to have stopped recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine.

On March 25, Prigozhin claimed that over 5,000 prisoners had already been granted amnesty as promised after serving on the frontline.

The documents cited by FT are part of one of the biggest intelligence leaks in recent years, revealing an unprecedented look into what is allegedly happening behind the scenes of the war effort in Ukraine.

U.S. federal investigators arrested on April 13 the suspect allegedly linked with the mass intelligence leak.


What does China want from Russia? Chinese President Xi Jinping calls Russian dictator Vladimir Putin his “best and most intimate friend.” But where does the limit to their “no limits” friendship actually lie? How does China see Russia’s war in Ukraine, and what does it really want from Moscow? #ukrainewarrussia #russiaukraine #ukraine #ukraine🇺🇦 #china #politics #politicstiktok #putin #xijinping #jinping

♬ original sound - Kyiv Independent
What does China want from Russia?
Explainer: What we learned from Pentagon leak and why it matters
A major U.S. intelligence leak exposed very detailed reports about Ukraine and its war effort. The documents detail the strength of Ukraine’s counteroffensive buildup, the U.S.’s doubt that it will go very far, Ukraine’s approaching vulnerability to air attacks, the sad state of the Russian
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