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China discussing sending combat drones to Russia, report claims

Russia is currently in talks with a Chinese company about purchasing large numbers of combat drones, a new report has claimed.

According to German magazine Der Spiegel this week, Russia is deliberating with the Chinese drone manufacturer Xian Bingo Intelligent Aviation Technology about buying 100 drones, which could be delivered as soon as April.

According to the report, these drones would be prototypes of the company’s ZT-180 units, which can reportedly hold 50kg worth of warheads. These are reported to be similar to Iran’s Shaheed-136 drone, which Russia has been using to date to launch devastating attacks against Ukrainian infrastructure.

The German magazine further claimed that Xian Bingo is planning to establish production facilities within Russia, where the Chinese firm could produce up to 100 of the drones every month.

Reportedly a Chinese state-run military company previously planned to send Moscow mechanical parts for the Russian SU-27 warplane.

This would represent a significant step, as to date Russia is believed to have received its weapons mainly from North Korea and Iran due to Western sanctions, with China seeming to abstain from sending equipment.

However, the company has denied the allegations according to VICE, saying that “Bingo Intelligent has no commercial contact with Russia.”

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has threatened sanctions and “severe consequences” if China aids Russia in Ukraine, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that such assistance “cannot be accepted.”

The news comes as the US commits $2 billion worth of drones, ammunition and other military aid to Ukraine to aid its war against Russia.

All of this takes place ahead of a planned visit to Moscow by Chinese leader Xi Jinping later this year, in which it has been claimed that Xi will attempt to push for peace in the Ukraine region.

China has published a 12-point document this week calling for a ceasefire between the two countries, arguing that “Dialogue and negotiations are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis.”

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