Politico: China is secretly sending enough equipment to Russia to equip an entire army

Posted on the website of Chinese military equipment manufacturer Shanghai H Win, the images show a tall, squat-nosed Caucasian man inspecting a body armor at his factory, Politico writes.

“This spring, one of our customers came to our company to confirm the style and quantity of bulletproof vests, and thoroughly tested the quality of our vests,” Shanghai H Win, a manufacturer of military protective equipment, proudly posted on its website.

The customer “immediately confirmed the order of bulletproof vests and the intention to purchase them in the future.”

The identity of the smiling buyer is unclear, but there is a strong possibility that he is Russian: According to customs records obtained by POLITICO, Russian buyers have placed orders for hundreds of thousands of body armor and helmets made by Shanghai H Win — items listed in the documents match those listed in the company’s online catalog.

Such data shows that China, despite Beijing’s calls for peace, is crossing a red line by supplying Russia with enough non-lethal but militarily useful equipment to have a significant impact on President Vladimir Putin’s 17-month war against Ukraine.

The protective gear would be enough to equip many of the men mobilized by Russia after the invasion. In addition, there are drones that can be used to direct artillery fire or drop grenades and thermal imaging optical sights to aim at the enemy at night.

How China is deceiving the West. Dual use technology

The sale of so-called dual-use technologies, which can be used for both civilian and military purposes, cannot be an excuse for Western authorities looking for reasons not to confront such a gigantic economic power as Beijing.

Chinese exports of dual-use goods to Russia are confirmed by customs data. And although Ukraine is also a client of China, imports of its equipment have fallen sharply, as the numbers show.

Russia has imported more than $100 million worth of drones from China this year, 30 times more than Ukraine. And Chinese exports of ceramics, a component used in body armor, rose 69 percent to Russia to more than $225 million, while to Ukraine it fell 61 percent to just $5 million, according to Chinese and Ukrainian customs data.

“It is very clear that China, with all its claims to be a neutral player, is actually supporting Russia’s position in this war,” said Helena Legarda, a senior Chinese defense and foreign policy analyst at the Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies, a think tank in Berlin.

If China crosses the red line and sells weapons or military equipment to Russia, Legarda said, he expects the EU to impose secondary sanctions against those factors that contributed to Putin’s war of aggression.

But, she added, equipment such as bulletproof vests, thermal imagers and even commercial drones that could be used in frontline offensive operations are unlikely to elicit a backlash.

“Then there is the situation that we are in right now – all these dual-use components or equipment and how you handle it,” Legarda explained. “I wouldn’t expect the EU to be able to agree to sanctions over this.”

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