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Reuters: US officials say China aids Russia's massive military expansion

by Abbey Fenbert April 13, 2024 12:43 AM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes only: Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) in Beijing, China, on June 8, 2018. (Greg Baker/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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China is aiding Russia's war machine in Ukraine by providing machine tools, weapons technology, and satellite imagery, Reuters reported on April 12, citing U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

China officially declares itself a neutral party to Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine, but Washington has continued to sound the alarm on Beijing's support of Moscow's defense-industrial expansion efforts.

According to one official, supplies from China are helping Russia launch its "most ambitious defense expansion since the Soviet era and on a faster timeline than we believed possible early on in this conflict."

Officials said that Russia uses machine tool shipments from China to bolster its production of ballistic missiles, and that Chinese microelectronics are used in the production of Russian missiles, tanks, and aircraft.

The officials said that 90% of Russia's microelectronics imports in 2023 came from China.

Chinese businesses such as iRay Technology and the North China Research Institute of Electro-Optics also supply Russia with military optics for tanks and armored vehicles, they said.

China also provides Russia with drone engines and officials said that Chinese and Russian firms are working together to manufacture drones within Russia.

Along with these supplies, Chinese businesses may also be furnishing Russia with nitrocellulose, used to make propellants for weapons. The officials also told reporters that U.S. intelligence indicates that Chinia is providing satellite imagery to Russia for use in Ukraine.

"Our view is that one of the most game-changing moves available to us at this time to support Ukraine is to persuade the PRC (People's Republic of China) to stop helping Russia reconstitute its military industrial base," one official said.

"Russia would struggle to sustain its war effort without PRC input."

China has insisted that its alliance with Russia is normal and that it has not supported either Ukraine or Russia with weapons throughout the full-scale war.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning responded to Western criticism in a press conference on April 10, saying the partnership between Beijing and Moscow constituted "normal cooperation."

"China will not accept the accusations and pressuring," Mao said.

A spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy in the U.S., Liu Pengyu, also told Reuters that China was not providing weapons to Russia or Ukraine and remained a neutral party.

"We urge the U.S. side to refrain from disparaging and scapegoating the normal relationship between China and Russia," Liu said.

Reuters: Putin to visit China in May
This might be Putin’s first trip abroad after he secured his fifth term in office in the recent presidential election, broadly regarded as rigged and unfair.
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