China aid to Russian military prompts sanctions on 5 companies

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The United States has accused several companies and research institutes in China of supporting the Russian military after the invasion of Ukraine began, in one of the first concrete signs of Chinese entities helping Russia against Washington’s will.

The Commerce Department said it was adding five of the companies to a trade blacklist known as the Entity List as punishment. He also accused two Chinese research institutes already blacklisted since 2018 of supporting the Russian military in recent weeks. Entities added to the list are effectively barred from purchasing US technology.

All companies and institutes signed recent contracts to continue supplying the Russian military, in violation of US-led export controls aimed at blocking Russia’s access to high-tech components and equipment, said the Commerce Department.

“Today’s action sends a powerful message to entities and individuals around the world that if they seek to support Russia, the United States will also cut them off,” said Alan Estevez, Under Secretary of Commerce. for industry and security, in a press release.

Chinese exports to Russia fall, study finds

As soon as Russia invaded on February 24, the United States and 37 allies retaliated with coordinated export controls designed to deprive Russia’s military and high-tech industries of semiconductors, electronics and other critical components. . China, a major manufacturer and exporter of technology to Russia, did not join the blockade, leaving Western officials concerned that Beijing could continue or even increase deliveries to Russia – something the United States has tried to do. avoid by threatening to cut off technology deliveries to China. if he did.

In recent weeks, US officials have said they have seen no “systematic effort” from China to help Russia evade Western sanctions, despite the “limitless” partnership that leaders Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin said in February. Trade data released this week, meanwhile, showed that China’s exports to Russia fell sharply after the start of the war.

But the Commerce Department’s latest action suggests that some tech trading is continuing.

The agency did not specify what kind of goods the companies had agreed to supply to the Russian military. But several of the newly blacklisted companies with offices in China appear to sell electronics.

US investigates how US electronics ended up in Russian military gear

These are Connec Electronic Ltd., King Pai Technology Co., Sinno Electronics, Winninc Electronic and World Jetta, a logistics company. Three of them also have offices in other countries – Russia, Vietnam, Lithuania and Britain, the Commerce Department said. But he called them entities with “substantial/main operations in China.”

Entities already blacklisted from commerce since 2018, for the alleged “illicit purchase” of technology for the Chinese military, are the 13th research institute of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation and its subordinate institution, Micro Electronic Technology in China. , the Commerce Department said. Both are units of the state defense conglomerate CETC.

The companies could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington denied that the country provided any assistance to the Russian military. “China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear,” he said in a statement. “We have played a constructive role in promoting peace talks and have not provided military assistance to the warring parties.”

The statement added, “China and Russia maintain normal energy and trade cooperation, and the legitimate interests of Chinese enterprises should not be harmed.” He said sanctions such as the Entity List “are contrary to international law and fundamental norms governing international relations.”

Russia is an insignificant manufacturer of electronics and computer chips and has therefore long relied on imports, which makes it vulnerable to trade blockades.

Recent dissections of Russian drones, tanks and other equipment recovered from Ukraine have revealed an array of Western electronics inside. This prompted US federal agents to start questioning US tech companies about how their computer chips ended up inside Russian equipment.

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