US says China is boosting Russia’s war machine in Ukraine

WASHINGTON – China is supporting Russia’s war effort in Ukraine by helping Moscow ramp up its defence production through large amounts of machine tools, microelectronics, drone and cruise missile technology, senior US officials said on April 12.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said US President Joe Biden raised the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping in their recent phone call and that it is a topic of discussion with US allies in Europe and around the world.

One official said Chinese materials are filing critical gaps in Russia’s defence production cycle and helping Moscow undertake its “most ambitious defence expansion since the Soviet era and on a faster timeline than we believed possible early on in this conflict.”

“Our view is that one of the most game-changing moves available to us at this time to support Ukraine is to persuade the PRC (China) to stop helping Russia reconstitute its military industrial base. Russia would struggle to sustain its war effort without PRC input,” the official said.

Some of the information provided by the officials in a small briefing with reporters was based on declassified intelligence.

They sketched a wide array of ways China is helping Russia’s two-year war against Ukraine without providing lethal assistance.

The Russians have likely used machine tool imports from China to increase its ballistic missile production, the officials said.

They cited Dalian Machine Tool Group, one of China’s leading machine tool manufacturers, as one company supplying Russia.

In 2023, 90 per cent of Russia’s microelectronics imports came from China, which Russia has used to produce missiles, tanks, and aircraft, the officials said.

They said that Chinese companies such as Wuhan Global Sensor Technology, Wuhan Tongsheng Technology and Hikvision are providing Chinese optical components for use in Russian systems, including tanks and armoured vehicles.

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