April 22, 2024

Chinese Firm Sent Large Shipments of Gunpowder to Russian Munitions Factory

Chinese Firm Sent Large Shipments of Gunpowder to Russian Munitions Factory

Chinese Firm Sent Large Shipments of Gunpowder to Russian Munitions Factory

By Ana Swanson and John Ismay
23 July 2023

On two separate occasions last year, railroad cars carrying tens of thousands of kilograms of smokeless powder — enough propellant to collectively make at least 80 million rounds of ammunition — rumbled across the China-Russia border at the remote town of Zabaykalsk.

The powder had been shipped by Poly Technologies, a state-owned Chinese company on which the United States had previously imposed sanctions for its global sales of missile technology and providing support to Iran. Its destination was Barnaul Cartridge Plant, an ammunition factory in central Russia with a history of supplying the Russian government.

These previously unreported shipments, which were identified by Import Genius, a U.S.-based trade data aggregator, raise new questions about the role China has played in supporting Russia as it fights to capture Ukrainian territory. U.S. officials have expressed concerns that China could funnel products to Russia that would help in its war effort — what is known as “lethal aid” — though they have not said outright that China has made such shipments.

Speaking from Beijing on Monday, Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said China had assured the United States that it was not providing lethal assistance to Russia for use in Ukraine, and that the U.S. government had “not seen anything right now to contradict that.”

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