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How relations between China and Russia strengthened after the war in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits China for the second time in seven months.

This is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s second visit to China in seven months.

Putin began a two-day trip to Beijing this Thursday (16/05), where he has already met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

It is the fourth meeting between the two since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

During this period, Beijing has become a vital partner for Moscow, which seeks to mitigate the impact of sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries.

Does China supply weapons to Russia?

China has repeatedly denied accusations that it supplies weapons to Russia.

“What is not happening is the provision of concrete weapons to Russia to use in Ukraine,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview with BBC News during his visit to Beijing last month.

However, the Asian country has been accused of strengthening Moscow’s war machine by supplying essential components.

“These [componentes] they are being used to help Russia in what is an intense and extraordinary effort to build more munitions, tanks, armored vehicles and missiles,” Blinken added.

According to him, about 70% of milling machines and 90% of microelectronic components imported from Russia come from China.

China says it does not supply weapons to Russia, but is accused of supporting Moscow's defense industry

The sanctions announced by Washington in May targeted around 20 companies based in China and Hong Kong.

One of them exported drone components, while the others allegedly helped Moscow evade Western sanctions related to other technologies.

“There is evidence that China is the largest exporter of semiconductors to Russia, often through shell companies in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates,” says Maria Shagina, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), with based in the United Kingdom.

“Some Chinese companies also supply civilian drones, exploring the gray area between military and civilian purposes,” he adds.

China defends its trade relations with Moscow, saying it does not sell lethal weapons and “prudently manages the export of dual-use goods in accordance with laws and regulations.”

Beijing exports more than $300 million in dual-use products – those with commercial and military applications – to Russia every month, according to an analysis of Chinese customs data by the Carnegie Endowment think-tank. . foreign policy.

The organization says the list includes what the US has designated as “high priority” items, needed to produce weapons from drones to tanks.

UK-based think tank Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) has also warned about the potential use of Chinese satellite technology to provide military intelligence to the front line of combat in Ukraine.

How much has trade between China and Russia grown?

Beijing has become the main supplier of cars, clothing, raw materials and many other products to Moscow after Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia.

According to official Chinese data, trade between China and Russia reached a record $240 billion in 2023, an increase of more than 64% compared to 2021, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the data, Russian imports from China reached $111 billion, while exports to the Asian country amounted to $129 billion.

Chinese auto and auto parts exports to Russia totaled $23 billion in 2023, up from $6 billion a year earlier.

“Russian natural gas powers many Chinese homes, and Chinese-made cars drive on Russian roads,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in March.

As China ramps up its electric vehicle industry domestically, Moscow has become a key destination for gasoline-powered models

However, some experts believe that this is an “unbalanced” relationship, in which Russia is more dependent on China than vice versa.

Since 2023, China has become Russia’s largest trading partner, while Russia is China’s sixth largest trading partner.

How much oil and gas does China buy from Russia?

Nearly half of all Russian government annual revenues come from oil and gas.

Its sales in the United States, United Kingdom and European Union countries plummeted after the invasion of Ukraine due to sanctions.

A significant portion of this deficit was offset by increased sales to Asia, particularly China and India.

In 2023, Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia to become China’s largest crude oil supplier. Beijing imported 107 million tons of crude oil from Moscow, an increase of 24% compared to 2022.

The G7, a group that brings together what are considered the most advanced economies in the world, the European Union and Australia, has also tried to limit Russia’s revenues by imposing a global limit on the price of its oil transported by sea.

However, China continued to purchase Russian crude oil above the limit price.

India, which continued its decades-long relationship with Russia, was also a major buyer of its discounted oil after the invasion.

Russia’s share of India’s total oil imports hit a record 44% in June 2023, according to India’s state-controlled Bank of Baroda.

In 2023, China also imported 8 million tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Russia, an increase of 77% compared to 2021.

The two countries also plan to expand their energy relationship, including a new pipeline, called Power of Siberia 2, to export natural gas from Russia’s Western Siberia region to northeastern China.

China already receives gas from Russia through the Power of Siberia 1 pipeline, which has been in use since 2019.

Source: Terra

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