While China has refrained from getting directly involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with Chinese President Xi Jinping promising to maintain an “objective and fair stance” on the conflict, one source revealed this week how Chinese companies are providing non-lethal assistance to Russia.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that the United States has evidence that Chinese companies are providing materials that support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. officials reportedly believe that the level of support being provided by Chinese companies is a scaled-down version of the support the People’s Republic of China was originally planning to provide Russia – namely, the provision of lethal weapons for use in Ukraine.
A Reuters report from Monday, January 23, confirmed that U.S. officials have evidence that private Chinese companies are providing “non-lethal military assistance and economic support that stops short of wholesale sanctions evasion.”
It means that Chinese companies are working diligently to avoid breaking sanctions, possibly indicating that the Chinese government is aware of the operations and allowing them to go ahead. The anonymous source told Reuters that there is no evidence, however, to confirm that the Chinese government is aware of the support given to Ukraine by the Chinese private sector.
U.S. Confronts China
Bloomberg reported that the Biden administration had confronted the Chinese government with evidence that suggests some Chinese companies are providing support for the Russian war effort, despite Beijing’s neutral position on the conflict.
For the White House to take the step of approaching Beijing about the matter suggests that the evidence is reliable and that the impact the support may have on the war could be substantial.
Representatives for the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council declined to comment on the news on Tuesday, and White House officials have so far not addressed the matter. However, U.S. officials now believe that the China-Russia relationship is closer than previously believed.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this week that the United States is “monitoring the situation” and promised to continue communicating to China the expectations the United
States has, and what will happen if China supports the war in Ukraine.
“We will continue to communicate to China the implications of providing material support to Russia’s war against Ukraine,” Jean-Pierre said. “We have talked about this many times that we will be very clear what it means to support Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He 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.