China has supplied Russia with helicopters, drones, optical sights and metals used in the defence industry, according to a journalist investigation.
Source: The Telegraph investigation
According to the British newspaper, Russian companies, including those under Western economic sanctions, which manufacture missile launchers, armoured vehicles and strategic bombers, received tens of thousands of supplies from China between the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the first quarter of 2023.
“This comes at a time when China, which insists it is neutral, is trying to position itself as a key peacemaker in talks aimed at ending the conflict,” the investigation says.
China sent helicopters and drones to Russia – investigation
The Telegraph writes that a Chinese company sent 1,000 drones to Russia two months before the war. The company, Shantou Honghu Plastics, claims to be a wholesaler of children’s toys.
The drones were sent to the Russian company Samson, which also describes itself as a wholesaler of games and toys and appears fictitious, as according to the state register of companies, its authorised capital is only 10,000 rubles.
In addition, four days after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Chinese company Hems999 supplied Russia with two helicopters. Another Chinese company, Tianjin Huarong Aviation, has provided Russia with four Airbus helicopters since the beginning of Putin’s all-out war.
All of them were received by the Russian firm Ural Helicopter, whose primary customer is the Russian National Guard, deployed in Ukraine and led by Viktor Zolotov, a former Putin’s bodyguard.
The publication also notes that Chinese manufacturers also shipped scopes to more than 50 Russian companies from the beginning of 2022 to the first quarter of this year. Last year, imports of these products almost doubled to $2.5 million compared to the previous year.
In 2022, China supplied parts for Russian military helicopters to a company from the Russian Federation that is on the US sanctions list for its involvement in the war against Ukraine, according to another investigation produced by CNN.
Chinese exports of turbojet engines and missile navigation radar systems
According to Molfar’s research, Chinese exports of turbojet engines and missile navigation radar systems are also shipped via India and Costa Rica and then re-exported to Russia, apparently in an attempt to circumvent sanctions.
According to commercial data, Russia’s imports of raw materials and components needed for weapons production have increased dramatically.
In 2022, China exported $18 million worth of titanium alloy products to Russia, almost twice as much as the year before.
In addition, the newspaper notes, Chinese companies also supplied magnesium alloys to Tupolev, which builds and helps maintain long-range bombers such as the Tu-95 and Tu-160M, used in cruise missile attacks against Ukrainian cities, including civilian and energy infrastructure.
Chinese supplies of bulletproof vests and helmets to Russia
But China-Russia cooperation does not stop there. Orders for hundreds of thousands of bulletproof vests and helmets made by Shanghai H Win have been made by Russian clients, according to customs records obtained by POLITICO. The goods listed in the documents correspond to those in the supplier’s online store.
Such evidence demonstrates that China is pushing to provide Russia with enough non-lethal but military-useful weaponry to significantly influence Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s 17-month war with Ukraine, despite Beijing’s calls for peace.
These supplies reveal a gap in the efforts to deter Putin’s war machine. Selling so-called dual-use technology that can be used for both military and civilian purposes gives Western authorities seeking an excuse not to challenge a significant economic force like Beijing just the right amount of plausible deniability.
Hacked Russian files disclose Russia-China propaganda agreement
China also collaborates with Russia in media reporting, which often used by Moscow to spread disinformation. Russian and Chinese media companies and government representatives agreed to share news and social content under the bilateral pact signed in 2021.
Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, a Russian defense ministry spokesperson revived debunked claims about an alleged US-funded bioweapons initiative in Ukraine, accusing Ukrainian labs of conducting experiments with viral diseases. This fake seemed to be hilarious, but the disinformation impact was severe.
China supported Moscow in its propaganda efforts during Russia’s war against Ukraine. Chinese officials and media outlets quickly picked up the Russian fake news and lies, which then developed, like the one on the Biolabs story.
Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, analysts have noticed a blending of Russian and Chinese media narratives. Documents discovered in a cache of hacked emails from Russia’s state broadcaster VGTRK show that China and Moscow have vowed to collaborate in media content by signing cooperation agreements at the ministerial level.