About 70 Chinese exporters sold drones of 26 different brands to Russia after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, writes The New York Times newspaper.
We are talking about the supply of drones and their spare parts to Russia in the amount of more than $12 million. In addition, Chinese companies that supply drones to Russia use chains of intermediary companies, which may include more than a dozen firms, to circumvent sanctions.
"Official sales are likely only part of a larger flow of technology being sold through unofficial channels and other Russia-friendly countries such as Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Belarus," the NYT notes.
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As a result, Russia is steadily supplied with hundreds of drones of various models, which are immediately sent to the combat zone in Ukraine.
A particular problem for the United States government is DJI, one of the largest Chinese manufacturers.
Sales of drones of this company in Russia continue.
Autel, a Chinese manufacturer of UAVs with subsidiaries in the USA, Germany and Italy, became the second largest seller of drones in Russia.
During the year of the full-scale invasion, exporters sold nearly $2 million worth of Autel drones, with the last shipment being shipped in February 2023.
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At the same time, representatives of DJI and Autel denied direct sales of their products to Russia.
According to experts interviewed by the NYT, the best way out of the current situation will be to equate Chinese drones with dual-purpose goods:
"Even a relatively poor supply of drones worth $12 million can significantly change the course of events on the front line.
We are back to war on an industrial scale.
Russia and Ukraine now treat drones in the same way as artillery shells, because whoever has the best UAV logistics base has a clear advantage on the battlefield," noted Cole Rosentreter, CEO of the Canadian drone manufacturer
Earlier, Der Spiegel wrote that Russia is negotiating with China on the supply of kamikaze drones.
Xi'an Bingo Intelligent Aviation Technology has agreed to manufacture and test 100 ZT-180 attack drones, which could be delivered by April 2023, according to the publication.
The Chinese manufacturer plans to send components and technologies for independent production of drones to Russia.
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Russia's war against Ukraine
At 5:00 a.m. on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a military operation against Ukraine in the Donbass at the request of the "DPR" and "LPR" groups.
On February 21, during a televised address to Russians, Putin called the so-called "DPR" and "LPR" independent states within the regions.
On February 22, the Federation Council ratified this decision.
Russian troops attacked, including from the territory of Belarus, using airfields, bases and roads.
Representatives of Lukashenka's regime justify the war, his opponents consider the territory of Belarus to be occupied, many call for resistance to the Russian invaders.
In 2022, 19 Belarusians were killed in Ukraine fighting for its independence.
It is known about two Belarusian soldiers who were captured by the Russians.
On March 30, the UN approved the composition of an independent commission that will investigate Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
It included people who worked in the analysis of the genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Contrary to Putin's statements about attacks only on military facilities, the Russians are bombing schools, kindergartens and residential areas of Ukrainian cities.
The Russians are using banned weapons, including cluster bombs, against civilians.
On April 2, after the liberation of the town of Bucha near Kyiv, photojournalists published dozens of photographs showing hundreds of dead people, victims of mass murders committed by Russian troops.
Many are buried in spontaneous mass graves.
The Russian occupation also brought great destruction to the people of Barodyan.
It is also known about a number of rapes, including babies.
On May 9, the US President signed the Land Leasing Law.
This law restores the program from the Second World War, which will speed up the supply of weapons to Ukraine and increase the amount of such assistance.
On July 29, as a result of an attack on the colony in Alenivka, at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners who defended the "Azovstal" plant in Mariupol and surrendered after completing their combat mission were killed.
The Russians accused Ukraine of the attack, the Ukrainian side declared the deliberate killing of prisoners by the Russian side.
The Russian occupation authorities prevented the UN and Red Cross missions from entering Alenavka.
During the six months of the war, Russia was able to occupy about 20% of the Ukrainian territory.
In March, the area of occupied land reached 30%.
However, at the end of the month, Russian troops retreated from the north of Ukraine, as well as from most of the Kharkiv region.
At the end of August, Crimea, Luhansk and Kherson regions were completely occupied.
And also 50% of the territory of the Donetsk region, about 70% of the Zaporizhia region, approximately 30% of the Kharkiv region.
Since February 24, Russia has captured only one regional center - Kherson.
Russian troops retreated from it and from the right-bank part of the Kherson region in November 2022.
The city was occupied by Russian troops in the first days of the war without actually fighting.
Kyiv suspects part of the former leadership of Kherson and the region of treason.
The former head of the SBU of the Kharkiv region was also detained on such suspicion.
In September, Ukrainian troops launched a large-scale counteroffensive, as a result of which Russian forces began to rapidly flee from their positions in the Kharkiv region.
On September 21, Putin announced the mobilization in Russia.
After this statement, thousands of Russians went to the border crossings and began to leave for Georgia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Mongolia, Finland and other countries.
In Russia itself, opponents of the war set fire to several military units.
Even people without military experience began to be conscripted into the army, despite promises that only experienced ones would go to war.
The mobilization of men into the Russian army also takes place in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
On October 2, Putin submitted a bill to the Russian parliament, which is an attempt to annex parts of four regions of Ukraine.
Two new republics - "LPR" and "DNR" - and two regions - Zaporizhia and Kherson will be part of Russia.
But thanks to the counteroffensive of the Ukrainians, the borders drawn in Moscow are not fully controlled by the occupying forces.
In October, Ukrainian troops successfully continued their counteroffensive, at the beginning of October they liberated Liman and Yampal, as well as significantly approached Svatov in the Luhansk region, and from there the way to Severodanetsk and Lysichansk opens.
On the morning of October 10, the Russians began intensive shelling of Ukrainian territory, including the center of Kyiv.
Rockets also reached Lviv, depriving the city of electricity.
Since then, Russia has carried out about 10 missile attacks on infrastructure facilities and other civilian targets on the territory of Ukraine.
On October 10, Lukashenka held a meeting with the Security Council and announced the deployment of a joint grouping of troops with Putin.
On the evening of November 15, Russia fired 100 missiles across the territory of Ukraine, primarily at energy facilities, and in Poland, two missiles fell in the village of Przewodau, 6 km from the border with Ukraine, killing two people.
The Polish authorities summoned the Russian ambassador for explanations.
Then it turned out that this was probably the result of the work of the Ukrainian Air Force, which shot down a Russian missile.
In November, with the onset of cold weather, Russia intensified its missile attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.
As a result, many Ukrainian cities and part of Moldova were left without electricity and water.
Ukraine called an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.
On January 1, 2023, the Department of Strategic Communications of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported the death of almost 400 Russians during the attack on the building of the Polytechnic School No. 19 in Makeyevka.
Russian soldiers were there and mobilized.
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation recognized 89 killed.
On January 14, 2023, as a result of another shelling, a Russian missile hit a high-rise building in the city of Dnipro, killing and injuring dozens of people.
The rescue operation to find the bodies stretched for several days.
In February, they take place for Bakhmut, Kramyannaya, Svatava.
However, US intelligence noted that the Russians do not have enough potential for a full-scale offensive, and the British Ministry of Defense said that the Russians suffered the biggest losses in the year in the first half of February.
Independent verification of information about military actions provided by officials of various parties is still impossible.