HomeGlobal Defence Updateschina: China helping Russia expand its defence base amid Ukraine conflict: Report

china: China helping Russia expand its defence base amid Ukraine conflict: Report

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Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, China is helping Russia ramp up its defence industrial base at such a large scale that Moscow is now undertaking its most ambitious expansion in military manufacturing since the Soviet era, CNN reported, citing senior Biden administration officials.

One of the official claimed that the Chinese and Russian entitles have also been working jointly to produce drones inside of Russia.

The support from China is having a significant impact on Russia’s ability to continue its assault on Ukraine, while Ukraine’s military has been plagued with equipment and weapon shortages. The challenge for Ukraine is exacerbated by Republicans in the US Congress continuing to block a vote on a new American military aid package to Kyiv.

“One of the most game changing moves available to us at this time to support Ukraine is to persuade the PRC (People’s Republic of China) to stop helping Russia reconstitute its military industrial base. Russia would struggle to sustain its war effort without PRC inputs,” said a senior administration official, adding that Chinese “materials are filling critical gaps in Russia’s defense production cycle,” CNN reported.

According to the report, this week Gen. Chris Cavoli, the commander of US European Command, told lawmakers that Russia has been “quite successful” at reconstituting its military since it invaded Ukraine more than 2 years ago, and its capacity has largely “grown back” to what it was before the invasion. US officials are now making clear that China is largely responsible for that rapid build-up.

As a demonstration of this deepening China-Russia partnership: in 2023, 90 per cent of Russia’s micro-electronics imports came from China, which Russia has used to produce missiles, tanks, and aircraft, a second official said.Russia’s rapidly expanding production of artillery rounds is due, in large part, to the nitrocellulose coming from China, officials said. This comes as Russia appears on track to produce nearly three times more artillery munitions than the US and Europe, CNN reported earlier this year.Beyond the defence hardware, China is helping Russia to improve its satellite and other space based capabilities for use in Ukraine, and providing imagery to Russia for its war on Ukraine, the officials said.

Some of this information comes from downgraded US intelligence, officials said.

The support from China is compensating for the significant setbacks that Russia’s defense industry experienced early in the Ukraine war due to US sanctions and export controls.

President Joe Biden raised concerns about China’s support for Russia’s defense industrial base in a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month, following other officials repeatedly raising the concerns with their Chinese counterparts, officials said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also raised the matter with US allies during his recent Europe trip, the officials said. The US has not seen any interruption to the ongoing Chinese support since that Biden-Xi phone call, though sometimes it takes time to see changes come to fruition.

China continues to steer clear of providing Russia with lethal weaponry, which the US has warned against since the beginning of the Ukraine war, but in many cases, the inputs can be just as impactful as lethal weaponry, CNN reported.

US officials said it is imperative for the US and its allies to persuade China to stop this practice, though success will be hard to measure. Earlier this year Xi heralded a new year of growing coordination with Russia during a call with President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen delivered China a warning of ‘significant consequences’ if Chinese companies provide support to Russia for the Ukraine war during her trip to the country.

CNN said in its report that the Biden administration also issued an executive order targeting third country banks that facilitate support to the Russian defense industrial base and following that action, the US has been touch with banks around the world to build up compliance systems to avoid inadvertently being caught up in this trade, which would result in US sanctions.

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