NewsUkraine's label of Chinese firms as 'war sponsors' poses risk to bilateral relations, China warns

Ukraine's label of Chinese firms as 'war sponsors' poses risk to bilateral relations, China warns

President of China Xi Jinping
President of China Xi Jinping
Images source: © Getty Images | Kent Nishimura

2:00 PM EST, February 1, 2024, updated: 4:32 AM EST, March 7, 2024

According to sources from Reuters, the warning was issued last month at a meeting between the Chinese ambassador to Kyiv and high-ranking Ukrainian government officials. One such source quotes the ambassador of the People's Republic of China. They stated that including Chinese companies on the list "could hurt our relations."

The "International Sponsors of War" List

The Ukrainian National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAZK) has included 48 companies from various countries as "international sponsors of war." Among them are 14 firms from China - including CNPC, CNOOC, CRPC, Xiaomi, and Geely.

The NAZK contends that the activities of these companies indirectly support or contribute to military operations conducted by Russia. However, being included on this list does not impose any legal consequences on the listed companies.

According to one Reuters source, China has not imposed any conditions or ultimatums on Ukraine. Instead, Chinese authorities "simply expressed their views on the list," adding that Beijing might try to exert pressure on Ukraine by purchasing Ukrainian grain.

Before Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, China was Ukraine's primary trading partner. Post February 24, 2022, China also became the leading export destination for Ukrainian commodities, such as grain, sunflower oil, and iron ore, under a grain corridor established by the UN, which no longer exists.

Despite maintaining close relations with Moscow and avoiding criticism of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Beijing maintains that all countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected.

During a dialogue with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun affirmed that Chinese authorities would continue to support Russia over the Ukrainian issue. This is despite increasing pressure from the US and escalating defense cooperation tensions between China and the European Union.

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