Is China Secretly Supplying Russia with Anti-Aircraft Weapons? – Soon after reports suggested that Russia asked China for military and economic assistance for its invasion of Ukraine, China denied reports that the Kremlin asked for help.
A tweet from Chinese media organization CGTN in March 2022 claimed the reports constituted “disinformation.”
“The U.S. is spreading disinformation about China on the Ukraine Crisis, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in response to U.S. allegations that Russia has requested military assistance from China, adding that China is willing to play a constructive role in promoting negotiations,” the outlet claimed.
It may have been an effort to maintain diplomatic support for Russia without taking military action that could result in Western sanctions directed at China, but new reports seem to suggest that China could be providing backdoor military support to Russia.
China Makes Quiet Missile Deliveries to Serbia
The Associated Press reported on Sunday that Serbia took delivery of sophisticated Chinese anti-aircraft systems from Serbia over the weekend.
Six Chinese Air Force Y-20 transport planes reportedly landed at the Belgrade civilian airport on Saturday carrying multiple HQ-22 surface-to-air missile systems headed to the Serbian military. The delivery is significant in that it was unexpected, and Serbia is an ally of Russia.
The arms were delivered over the airspace of Bulgaria and Turkey – both NATO member states. The Serbian Ministry of Defense did not respond to requests for comment, but Serbian military analyst Aleksandar Radic said that the Chinese “carried out their demonstration of force.”
Whether Serbia intends to arm Russian troops with these missile systems is yet to be seen.
Serbia did vote in favor of United Nations resolutions that condemned the invasion of Ukraine but has stopped short of implementing sanctions against Russia.
If Serbia was to U-turn on its position, a delivery of surface-to-air missiles could assist Russian forces when/if Ukraine is gifted the fighter jets that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly requested from NATO allies.
Ukraine Could Soon Get More Fighter Jets
Slovakia is reportedly in talks with allies about how it can send MiG-29 fighter jets – Soviet-made aircraft that are already used by the Ukrainian air force – to Ukraine. The plans were announced by Prime Minister Eduard Heger on Monday who said that his government was planning to replace its fleet of MiG aircraft anyway.
“This is equipment that we want to finish anyway, because we’re waiting for the F-16s,” Heger said, referring to new jets manufactured in the United States that should be delivered by 2024.
The United States government has expressed no objections to Slovakia transferring its fleet of Soviet-era jets to Ukraine.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.