The European Union is considering sanctions against Chinese companies that support the Russian war machine

This pool photo distributed by Russia’s state-run Sputnik agency shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping heading for a group photo during the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in October. 18, 2023.

Grigory Sysoyev AFP | Getty Images

The European Union is seeking to impose sanctions on Chinese companies that helped Russia circumvent Western sanctions, seeking to crack down on those mainland Chinese businesses for the first time since the war began, three EU officials told CNBC.

The 27-member bloc is working on a 13th package of sanctions in the wake of Russia’s wide-scale incursion into Ukrainewhich could be ready later this month to mark the second anniversary of the war.

One of the EU officials, who did not want to be named because of the sensitive nature of the talks, said: “Chinese companies and entities from other third countries, involved in supporting Russia to circumvent sanctions” will appear in the next round of measures. imposed against Russia for the war in Ukraine.

Another official said the EU’s 27 ambassadors would discuss the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday, adding that “work is ongoing”.

The comments come after Bloomberg reported that the proposed sanctions include three China-based companies.

European officials have previously highlighted the close relationship between Moscow and Beijing. Last month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the World Economic Forum in Davos that “Russia’s failure is also economic. Sanctions have disconnected its economy from modern technology and innovation. Russia is now dependent on China.”

Data from China’s General Administration of Customs released in January showed that China’s trade relationship with Russia reached a new record high of $240 billion in 2023. according to Reuters. The data showed increases in purchases of Chinese cars and smartphones from Russia.

CNBC reported in January that Russia is still acquiring Western technology despite ongoing sanctions. China, Hong Kong, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are increasingly important in funneling critical components to Russia from Western countries, the survey found.

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