China is selling military equipment, including helmets and bulletproof vests, to Russia, customs reports reviewed by Politico suggest.
Russian buyers have declared purchases of hundreds of thousands of military items made by Chinese company Shanghai H Win, which produces military-grade gear. Politico confirmed that the items on the declaration documents match those on the company's online catalog.
"This spring, one of our customers came to our company to confirm the style and quantity of bulletproof vests, and carefully tested the quality of our vests," the company posted on its website in March. While Politico could not confirm the identity of this customer, the outlet suggest there's a "fair chance" he's Russian.
The Chinese company added that this customer "immediately directly confirmed the order quantity of bulletproof vests and subsequent purchase intention."
Chinese exporters have aided Russia in obtaining materials for its invasion of Ukraine, Politico reported:
Russia has imported more than $100 million-worth of drones from China so far this year — 30 times more than Ukraine. And Chinese exports of ceramics, a component used in body armor, increased by 69 percent to Russia to more than $225 million, while dropping by 61 percent to Ukraine to a mere $5 million, Chinese and Ukrainian customs data show.
An employee at Shanghai H Win told the outlet that the war has fueled a surge in business.
"Because of the war, a lot of trading companies are looking for us and ask: 'Are you making this kind of vest?' We received a lot of inquiries," the sales representative said.
The report comes as Russia bombs Ukrainian food export facilities, a move Western leaders claim could cause a global food crisis.