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EU considers sanctions against Chinese companies supporting Russian war machine

This swimming pool photograph distributed by Russian state agency Sputnik shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping heading for a group photo session at the third Belt and Road Forum for Cooperation international at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in October. 18, 2023.

Grigory Sysoev | AFP | Getty Images

The European Union is seeking to sanction Chinese companies that it says helped Russia circumvent Western sanctions, seeking to impose measures against these mainland Chinese companies for the first time since the start of the war, officials told CNBC three EU officials.

The 27-member bloc is working on a 13th sanctions package following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which could be ready later this month to mark the second anniversary of the war.

One of the EU officials, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the negotiations, said: “Chinese companies and entities from other third countries that help Russia circumvent sanctions” will be included in the next cycle. measures imposed on Russia for its war in Ukraine.

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

The comments follow a Bloomberg report that the proposed sanctions include three China-based companies.

European officials have already highlighted the close relations 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 decoupled 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 relations with Russia hit a new record of $240 billion in 2023, according to Reuters. Figures show an increase in Russian purchases of Chinese cars and smartphones.

CNBC reported in January that Russia continued to obtain Western technology despite ongoing sanctions. China, Hong Kong, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are playing an increasingly important role in transporting critical components to Russia from Western countries, according to the study.

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