Customs data reveals China is fueling Russia’s war in Ukraine
China is fueling Moscow’s war in Ukraine by sending fighter-jet components, navigational systems for military helicopters, and other technology since last year’s invasion, Russian customs data shows.
The shipments, which are not weapons but have wartime uses, are reportedly among thousands of Chinese imports from both state-owned and private businesses recorded by the Russian customs office, a list that also includes telescoping antennas for military vehicles that can be used for communications jamming and parts for a radar system used to detect jets and missiles.
Customs data compiled by the Washington-based national security nonprofit C4ADS and examined by the Wall Street Journal shows that Russia has been able to continue bolstering its military arsenal by importing technology from countries that have not joined the West’s efforts to sanction Moscow.
Other countries continuing to send shipments to Russia include the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, a member of NATO, which has branded the sanctions ineffective. But the Journal report found China is the “dominant exporter” of what’s known as “dual-use” goods or materials that could be used in weapons or less lethal products.
Last year, Turkish companies shipped more than $18 million of goods including vehicles, plastic, and rubber to ten Russian companies sanctioned by the U.S. for their role in the war, the Journal reported.
Turkish businesses also exported at least another $15 million in American-made electronics and technology to Russia, in direct violation of U.S. sanctions aimed at cutting off Moscow’s military supply chains.
Over 30 countries have already imposed sanctions on Russia, although Turkey has publicly declined to enforce them.
Despite the signs that the effort to stop goods from heading to Russia are being flouted, the European Union is preparing the unveil a new series of sanctions against Russia on Feb. 24 to mark the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The sanctions package, which will be the 10th the EU has brought against Russia since the war began, will target technology used by the Russian military, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a news conference Friday.
Leyen added that the sanctions will specifically target parts used to manufacture drones, which Iran has played a key role in supplying.
The EU’s 27 member countries must agree on the exact specifications of the sanctions package before it is finalized.
The U.S. also announced Friday that it would be using funds seized from a sanctioned Russian oligarch for the first time to aid Ukraine in its war efforts.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the over $5 million seized in June from a bank account belonging to Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev — “for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly” the Russian government, the Treasury Department said at the time — will be transferred to the State Department to aid Ukraine.
“Russian war criminals will find no refuge in the United States,” Garland said during a press conference with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin.
“Today, we are witnessing the authorization of transfer of the confiscated assets in the amount of $5.4 million US dollars to the State Department for the purpose of rebuilding war-ravaged Ukraine,” Kostin said. “We are grateful to the United States for its decisive efforts and support. Ukrainian people will never forget that.”