CCP Supports Russian Military Expansion, Prolonging Russia-Ukraine War

CCP Supports Russian Military Expansion, Prolonging Russia-Ukraine War
Residents stand in front of an apartment building hit by a Russian drone strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on April 4, 2024. (Yevhen Titov/Reuters)
Antonio Graceffo

The Chinese regime undermines international sanctions on Russia by providing Moscow with funding and weapons, thereby prolonging the Russo-Ukrainian War.

Moscow has initiated the most extensive military expansion since the end of the Cold War. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is furnishing Russia with machine tools, microelectronics, turbojet engines for drones, cruise missile technology, nitrocellulose, and other critical technologies utilized in producing weapons for the war in Ukraine.
CCP funding and exports bolster Russia’s manufacturing of missiles, tanks, and aircraft. Chinese companies supply Moscow with flying mortar drones capable of carrying 120 mm Shells. Russia is even utilizing drone engines sourced from AliExpress, a prominent Chinese e-commerce company.
Chinese companies, including Wuhan Global Sensor Technology Company, Wuhan Tongsheng Technology Company, and Hikvision, are exporting optical components Russia uses in its tanks and armored vehicles. Other Chinese firms, such as iRay Technology and the North China Research Institute of Electro-Optics, are supplying Moscow with military-grade optics for armored vehicles. Since 2021, Russian imports of Chinese semiconductors have more than doubled.
The international community’s agreement not to sell advanced technologies to Russia has proved a boon for China, which is now responsible for 90 percent of Russia’s microelectronics imports. Moreover, importing nitrocellulose from China—a highly flammable compound essential in producing explosives—has empowered Russia to nearly triple its artillery munitions production compared to the United States and Europe.

CCP support allows Russia to keep its assembly lines running and produce weapons at top speed. Meanwhile, Ukraine is experiencing shortages of weapons and ammunition. Another advantage for Russia is that the war is not taking place inside Russian territory, making it easier to keep factories running. Ukraine, on the other hand, is the site of all the battles, and its factories and power production plants are open to Russian attacks.

The conscription of young people for the war has also negatively impacted Ukraine more than Russia. The Russian population stands at 144 million, whereas Ukraine only has 38 million. Roughly 1 million Ukrainians, including volunteers and conscripts, currently serve in the military. In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an increase in the size of the Russian military to 1.3 million troops. This means that a much larger number and a percentage of young Russian people are available to work in factories manufacturing military equipment. In addition to this number, the Chinese factories and CCP funding give Russia a tremendous advantage in arms production.
Between Chinese military equipment imports and money earned on Chinese trade and investment, the Russian military machine is now back to pre-war levels. The Russo-Ukrainian War is a war of attrition. The United States and its allies have been supporting Ukraine to hold out as long as it can to wear the Russians down. The hope was that the economic sanctions would break the Russian economy while a protracted war would use up Russian military hardware, munitions, and personnel. Eventually, Putin would no longer be able to continue the war. However, CCP support has proved a lifeline for Moscow.

The support of Russia’s economy and military manufacturing efforts by the CCP has spurred an unconventional arms race, positioning the United States and its allies in a spending showdown against Beijing. Russia leverages Chinese funding to bolster its economic and industrial prowess, whereas financial aid sent by pro-Ukraine nations burdens its economy and industrial foundation. Moreover, profits repatriated to China contribute to its economic expansion. Simultaneously, sustained trade with Moscow and diplomatic backing at the United Nations afford the CCP access to low-cost energy, enabling Chinese goods to undercut prices of nations procuring oil and energy at global market rates.

The financial drain on the West, combined with Russia’s increased militarization, is making Europe and the world less safe. Beijing is also aiding Russia through the use of its satellites and spy capabilities, which, at the same time, is increasing Beijing’s intelligence gathering capabilities, thus increasing the espionage threat from the CCP.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the White House admonished the CCP in a statement: “We continue to be concerned about the role that any firms, including those in the PRC, are playing in Russia’s military procurement,” referring to China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.
President Joe Biden has also issued warnings to China and convened meetings of U.S. allies to discuss how to cut off Chinese support; however, the wheels of international justice spin very slowly. Experience has shown that Chinese companies will almost immediately circumvent any new restrictions placed on China and will have little, if any, impact on reducing Russia’s access to weapons and ammunition.

Since Ukraine is fighting a defensive war and appears to have no plans of invading and occupying Moscow, the only way for this war to end is for Putin to quit, which will only happen when he determines that Russia is no longer capable of continuing. Ongoing CCP support is shifting that point to a distant and hypothetical date in the future, which may never come.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Antonio Graceffo, PhD, is a China economic analyst who has spent more than 20 years in Asia. Mr. Graceffo is a graduate of the Shanghai University of Sport, holds a China-MBA from Shanghai Jiaotong University, and currently studies national defense at American Military University. He is the author of “Beyond the Belt and Road: China’s Global Economic Expansion” (2019).