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Politico: Russia receives dual-use equipment from China, the Russian army uses it

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Politico reports that China is secretly shipping equipment to Russia that is used to equip the Russian army. The martial power of China’s dual-use exports to Russia is confirmed by customs data. And although Ukraine is also a customer of China, less and less equipment reaches it.

These shipments of dual-use equipment from China reveal a loophole in Western sanctions. Politico cites data and customs declarations from a number of Chinese and Russian companies. He points to three Russian entities, each of which has bought 100,000 units since last year. bulletproof vests and helmets, marked as airsoft helmets. 220 shipments of thermal imaging equipment worth a total of $11 million were also identified, as well as multiple shipments of Chinese commercial DJI drones.

For example, photos posted on a Chinese company’s website show a tall white man inspecting bulletproof vests at its factory.

“This spring, one of our customers came to our company to confirm the order quantity of bulletproof vests, and also thoroughly tested the quality of our vests,” Shanghai H Win, a manufacturer of military-grade protective clothing, announced on its website in March. The customer “immediately directly confirmed the number of bulletproof vests ordered and the intention to continue purchasing.”

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The identity of the smiling customer is not clear, but there is a high probability that he was Russian: according to customs data obtained by Politico, Russian buyers have placed orders for hundreds of thousands of body armor and helmets manufactured by Shanghai H Win – the items listed in the documents correspond to those in the company’s online catalog.

Evidence of this kind shows that China, despite Beijing’s calls for peace, is supplying Russia with enough military equipment to equip many of the people Russia has mobilized since the invasion.

Vladimir Putin Xi Jinpingkremlin.ru

Russia imports drones and components for vests from China

These shipments point to a gap in the West’s attempts to disable Putin’s war machine. The wartime power of China’s dual-use exports to Russia is confirmed by customs data. And although Ukraine is also a customer of China, imports of most of the equipment in question have plummeted.

This year, Russia imported drones from China worth more than $100 million – 30 times more than Ukraine. And Chinese exports of ceramics to Russia, a component used in bulletproof vests, rose 69 percent to more than $225 million, while to Ukraine they fell 61 percent to just $5 million, according to Chinese and Ukrainian customs records.

One of the Russian companies importing equipment – Pozitron, founded in March 2021 – recorded last year huge increase in revenue, from 400 thousand dollars to almost 300 million. According to Politico, the company is “on the radar” of Western authorities in the context of future sanctions. When the portal last year reported a similar story of the company Techkrim, importing rifles from China – allegedly for sports use – it ended up on the sanctions list.

“It is clear that China, despite all its claims to be a neutral side, is actually supporting Russia’s stance in this war,” said Helena Legarda, chief analyst specializing in Chinese defense and foreign policy at the Mercator Institute for China Studies, a Berlin-based think tank. However, as she noted, the items exported by China do not cross Western “red lines”, i.e. they do not constitute “lethal aid”, so the introduction of such sanctions is unlikely.

If China crosses the red line and sells arms to Russia, Legarda believes the EU will enforce secondary sanctions against those helping Russia. However, she added that equipment such as body armor or commercial drones that could be used in offensive operations on the front lines are unlikely to trigger a response.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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