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The Chinese embassy in Washington DC has claimed China is “not a party to the crisis, and has not provided weapons to either side of the conflict” as data shows firms based in the country shipped up to 1,000 assault rifles to Russian entities.
Sunak: China represents ‘systemic challenge for the world order’
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Chinese firms have sent Russian entities equipment through a roundabout route via NATO member Turkey and the UAE, data has shown. Customs data from ImportGenius has documented a series of shipments from the companies – including one connected to the Chinese government in Beijing – between June and December 2022 that could be used for military purposes. Among the shipments are approximately 1,000 assault rifles, with drone parts and body armour also included. The data, first obtained by Politico, shows that state-owned defence contractors China North Industries Group Corporation Limited sent the rifles in June 2022 to Russian firm Tekhkrim, which does business with the Russian state and military.
But the CQ-A model firearms that have previously seen use in the hands of Chinese paramilitary police were tagged as “civilian hunting rifles”. The data shows the weapons are not earmarked for use in Ukraine, making them “dual-use” shipments of commercial goods that could find their way to the battlefield.
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Ukraine LIVE: China ships assault rifles, drones and body armour to Russia (Image: GETTY)
Four dead in Russian fire
Four people died in the devastating fire that engulfed a Russian security service building on Thursday in the city of Rostov-on-Don.
Local reports suggested there had been “powerful explosions” in the building before it erupted into flames.
The city of Rostov-on-Don is located just 75 miles from the southeast border of Ukraine.
Belgium hands over 240 military trucks to Ukraine
Belgium will send 240 Volvo military trucks to Ukraine, with the first few arriving as early as the next week or two, a Belgian newspaper has reported.
Ukraine’s military will use the tracks to transport troops and equipment to the eastern front line, according to De Standaard.
“The focus is often on arms deliveries, but the Ukrainian units are also really waiting for these trucks. During a conflict, logistics are at least as important as weapons,” the Belgian defence ministry said.
Belgian defence minister Ludivine Dedonder said that in addition to delivering trucks, Belgium would also send 100 instructors to train the Ukrainian military, De Standaard wrote.
Russia launch 5 missiles and 18 airstrikes in 24 hours
Russia launched 5 missiles and 18 airstrikes over the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s general staff has reported this morning in a daily update, with one woman killed in Donetsk Oblast.
The Russian attack on Kostyantynivka in Donetsk oblast injured six civilians and damaged 20 buildings, including a school among other civilian infrastructure. The Russian forces also carried out over 100 attacks from multiple launch rocket systems during the past day.
As a result of Russia’s shelling, a 50-year-old woman was killed in the village of Pivdenne, and a 40-year-old man was injured in the village of Pivnichne.
Kremlin confirms China state visit
The Kremlin has confirmed that Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a three-day visit to Russia next week to meet with Vladimir Putin.
Xi will be in Russia from March 20 to March 22, the Kremlin said.
“During the talks, they will discuss topical issues of further development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China,” the Kremlin said.
“A number of important bilateral documents will be signed,” Reuters reports it added.
Chinese spokesperson Wang Wenbin, at a regular news briefing, said the objective of the visit is to further deepen bilateral trust.
China’s foreign ministry said Xi will exchange opinions on major international and regional issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit.
Russian offensives ‘unsustainable’ after over-deployment of forces
Russian forces have “temporarily depleted the deployed formations’ combat power” in Ukraine, leading to a situation where it is “not currently sustainable” to launch offensives, the British Ministry of Defence has claimed.
In its latest daily update on Twitter, the MoD said Russia is being forced to wait for munition. and personnel resupplies.
It said, in the meantime, that “commanders will likely be forced to choose between carrying out offensive operations and conducting a credible defence of the full line.”
u2014 Ministry of Defence ud83cuddecud83cudde7 (@DefenceHQ) March 17, 2023
Good morning from London. I’m Liam Doyle, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.
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