Ukraine-Russia war: U.S sanctions Chinese Company

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The U.S. has sanctioned a Chinese company for allegedly providing satellite imagery of Ukraine to support the mercenary Wagner Group’s combat operations for Russia.

On Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said that Wagner supplied Russia with thousands of fighters in the Ukraine war. Spacety China had provided Terra Tech, a Russia-based technology firm, with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite images of locations in Ukraine,

The firm called Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute is among 16 entities slapped with curbs by the Treasury Department. The firm, also known as Spacety China, has offices in Beijing and Luxembourg.

The department stated that these images were gathered in order to enable Wagner combat operations in Ukraine. Therefore, the department has also sanctioned Spacety’s Luxembourg-based subsidiary. Under the sanctions, there can be no transfer, payment, or export of any property or interests in the United States to the targeted entities.

Reports state that Spacety China has yet to respond to the move. China, a close ally of Russia, has attempted to position itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine war. The U.S. and its partners have criticised China for refusing to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On its website, Spacety China describes itself as a pioneer” in providing commercial SAR technology, stating that it wants to “make SAR imagery of every point on earth accessible and affordable to users all over the world.

SAR is a type of radar technology that can deliver higher-resolution images using shorter antennas. According to the company’s website, its chief executive officer Yang Feng sits on China’s Ministry of Science and Technology’s panel of experts. The site also lists several working partners, including state-owned enterprises China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In addition to Spacety China, 15 other entities, eight individuals, and four aircraft – many of them based in Russia – that allegedly form part of Wagner’s global support network also received U.S. sanctions. These include Sewa Security Services, based in central Africa, and Kratol Aviation, based in the United Arab Emirates, which allegedly provided aircraft to move personnel and equipment between central Africa, Libya, and Mali.

According to estimates from the White House, Wagner now commands some 50,000 fighters in Ukraine. The organisation plays a crucial role in Russia’s war efforts and has been heavily involved in attempts to capture Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine. Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, leads it.

“Today’s expanded sanctions on Wagner, as well as new sanctions on their associates and other companies enabling the Russian military complex, will further impede Putin’s ability to arm and equip his war machine,” stated U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.



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