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US accuses five Chinese firms of backing Russian troops in Ukraine

Since the Russian invasion began, the West has viewed with suspicion the ties between Moscow and Beijing and the role the Asian giant could play in the conflict
REUTERS/CHINGIS KONDAROV  -   Un convoy blindado de tropas prorrusas se mueve a lo largo de una carretera durante el conflicto entre Ucrania y Rusia

REUTERS/CHINGIS KONDAROV  -   An armoured convoy of pro-Russian troops moves along a road during the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Five Chinese companies have been blacklisted by the United States for allegedly supporting Russia's military and defence industry during the war in Ukraine. The companies are Connec Electronic, King Pai Technology, Sinno Electronics, Winninc Electronic and World Jetta (HK) Logistics, which will not be allowed to do business with US companies.

In addition to these companies, the US Department of Commerce has listed companies from Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Lithuania, Pakistan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, according to Reuters data from the Federal Register. However, of the 36 companies included, 25 had operations in the Asian giant.

"Today's action sends a powerful message to entities and individuals around the world that if they try to support Russia, the United States will isolate them as well," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez.

Since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, the West has imposed sanctions on individuals and companies linked to the Russian government for their involvement in the war. Similarly, the US and the EU have looked askance at China's possible role in the war

PHOTO/AP  -   El presidente ruso Vladimir Putin (derecha) y el presidente chino Xi Jinping (izquierda) en el Kremlin de Moscú, en esta fotografía de archivo
PHOTO/AP - Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) at the Kremlin in Moscow, in this file photo.

Beijing has not condemned Russia's aggression in Ukraine, nor has it used the word 'invasion' to refer to the war. What the Chinese authorities have denounced, however, are the Western economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

In March alarm bells went off in the West after several US media outlets, quoting diplomats, reported that Russia had requested military assistance from China. This information, however, was later denied by Moscow and Beijing, which accused Washington of spreading "disinformation" with "malicious" intentions. Even so, US officials have warned of retaliation should China support Russia militarily.

The recent US decision to place five Chinese companies on a trade blacklist for allegedly supporting the Russian war machine shows the ties between Moscow and Beijing, although, according to a White House official, there is no sign of China providing Russia with military equipment, as the Financial Times points out.

AFP/ MANDEL NGAN y ANTHONY WALLACE - Combinación de imágenes de archivo del presidente estadounidense Joe Biden y del presidente chino Xi Jinping
AFP/ MANDEL NGAN y ANTHONY WALLACE - Combination of archive images of US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
War in Ukraine escalates as Moscow plans annexation of Kherson

As Washington adds several Chinese companies to its trade blacklist, the war in Ukraine is escalating. Earlier this week, the Russian army attacked a shopping centre in the city of Kremenchuk, in the centre of the country and far from the war front. At the moment, at least 20 people are dead, more than 50 wounded and 40 missing, according to the latest report from the local governor. On Sunday morning, Russia also struck Kiev, a city that has not suffered Russian bombardment since early June. 

In addition to shelling Ukrainian territory, Moscow is planning the accession of conquered territories, such as Kherson, a city occupied since early March. "We are making preparations for a referendum and we will hold it. The Kherson region will make a decision to join Russia and become a full-fledged constituent entity," the deputy head of the Regional Military-Civil Administration, Kirill Stremousov, announced in Telegram, according to the Russian news agency TASS. 

As EFE reports, Russian authorities in control of the southern city have also detained the mayor, Igor Kolykhayev, for refusing to cooperate. "As soon as he got out of the car, he was immediately detained by armed Russian National Guard and, most probably, by the FSB (Federal Security Service, formerly the KGB)," said his adviser, Galina Lyashevskaya, who fears for the mayor's life. Lyashevskaya also told the Ukrainian agency UNIAN that the Russians confiscated hard drives and computers, opened safes and searched for documents while Kolykhayev was handcuffed under guard.

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.