Ukraine Brands China’s Biggest Oil and Gas Companies ‘Sponsors of War’

Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) announced on Tuesday that it had decided to add China’s three largest oil and gas companies to its list of “international sponsors of war” for their lucrative business interests in Russia, potentially driving a wedge between Kyiv and Beijing.

China is one of Russia’s closest international allies and has dramatically increased its imports of Russian fossil fuels since the government of strongman Vladimir Putin announced a “special operation” to invade Ukraine in February 2022. Russia overtook Saudi Arabia and China’s top source of oil in June 2022 and has rerouted ships into the Arctic to more efficiently meet China’s demand for its products — at a time in which Europe imposed sanctions on Moscow in response to the invasion.

The Chinese Communist Party also enjoys close ties to the government of Ukraine, however. Ukraine is a member of China’s Belt and Road Initative (BRI), a debt-trap scheme in which Beijing offers predatory loans to poor countries that serve to erode their sovereignty and increase Chinese influence. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has encouraged Chinese businesses to help rebuild a post-war Ukraine and invited dictator Xi Jinping to maintain communication lines open. Xi and Zelensky last spoke in April, in a phone call Zelensky described as “long and meaningful.”

The Chinese government has repeatedly described itself as a neutral party in the war despite refusing to support sanctions on Russia. It published an alleged “peace plan” to end the Russian invasion in which Beijing advised both Russia and Ukraine to “calm down as soon as possible.” (Read more from “Ukraine Brands China’s Biggest Oil and Gas Companies ‘Sponsors of War’” HERE)

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