This group photo distributed by the Russian state agency Sputnik shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping heading to a group photo session during the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in October. 18, 2023.
Grigori Sysoev | AFP | fake images
The European Union is seeking to sanction Chinese companies it believes have helped Russia evade Western sanctions, seeking to impose measures against these mainland Chinese companies for the first time since the war began, three EU officials told CNBC.
The 27-member bloc is working on a 13th sanctions package following Russia's large-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 did not want to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the talks, said: “Chinese companies and entities from other third countries, which are involved in supporting Russia to circumvent sanctions,” will feature in the next round. of measures imposed against Russia for its war in Ukraine.
Another official said the 27 EU ambassadors will discuss the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday, adding that “work is ongoing.”
The comments come after a Bloomberg report said the sanctions proposal includes three companies based in China.
European officials have previously stressed the close relationship 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 now It depends on China.”
Data from China's General Administration of Customs released in January showed that China's trade relationship with Russia reached a new record of $240 billion in 2023, according to Reuters. The figures showed increases in Russian purchases of Chinese cars and smartphones.
CNBC reported in January that Russia continues to source Western technology despite ongoing sanctions. According to the research, China, Hong Kong, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have been increasingly important in funneling critical components to Russia from Western countries.