China is providing technology and equipment to Russia that is increasingly important to Moscow's war in Ukraine, according to a newly released report compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The report is unclassified and largely cites open-source data and western press reporting to support its claims. But it includes the US intelligence community assessment that China "has become an increasingly important buttress for Russia in its war effort."
The report — mandated by the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 passed by Congress, and released by House Intelligence Committee Democrats — says that as of March, China "had shipped more than $12 million in drones and drone parts" to Russia, citing a "third-party analysis" of Russian customs data.
Chinese state-owned defense companies have also been providing sanctioned Russian government-owned defense companies with other dual-use technology "that Moscow's military uses to continue the war in Ukraine," the report says, including "navigation equipment, jamming technology, and fighter-jet parts."
Semiconductor exports from China to Russia have also jumped considerably since 2021, it adds, with "hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of US-made or US-branded semiconductors flowing into Russia" despite heavy western sanctions and export controls.
The report says Chinese firms are "probably" helping Moscow to evade these sanctions — though it is "difficult to ascertain the extent" of that help. The report says the intelligence community cannot be sure whether Beijing is deliberately interfering with the US' ability to conduct export control checks, via interviews and investigations, inside China.
The report does say, however, that China "has become an even more critical economic partner for Russia since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022."
CNN has asked the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, for comment on the report.
What the US has said: The Biden administration has repeatedly raised concerns with China about evidence it has suggesting that Chinese companies have sold non-lethal equipment to Russia for use in Ukraine, but US officials say they have seen no signs so far that China has provided weapons or lethal military aid to Russia.
The US believes that at the outset of the war, China intended to sell Russia lethal weapons for use in Ukraine, a US official previously told CNN. But China significantly scaled back on those plans as the war progressed, this person said — something the Biden administration has considered a victory.
What China has said: China has claimed neutrality over the war in Ukraine and called for peace in the conflict. But Beijing has also avoided publicly criticizing Russia's war efforts and the two countries have repeatedly emphasized their cooperation, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu declaring a "boundless" military partnership after a meeting in April.