Russia is in talks with Chinese manufacturer Xian Bingo Intelligent Aviation Technology to procure 100 drones, a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel said. The drones are to be delivered by April.
Reportedly, Bingo also has plans to deliver components and know-how to Russia so that they can produce 100 drones a month domestically. According to the report, China is also delivering commercially available drones to some Russian customers and these are in fact being used to conduct reconnaissance along the Ukraine border.
The magazine said that Bingo would manufacture and test 100 ZT-180 drones, which could carry a 35-50 kg warhead. There are plans to deliver these drones to Russia by Chinese-controlled companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Several western countries have of late warned China to not sell weapons to Russia. In the recently held Munich Security Conference, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock raised the issue with Chinese representatives.
"I said clearly in my last conversation with representatives of China that this cannot be accepted," Scholz said on the political talk show "Maybrit Illner" on public broadcaster ZDF.
However, when confronted, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reacted "coolly". He said that China was "playing by the rules".
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Apart from drones, China is also planning to deliver replacement parts for Russia's SU-27 fighter jets. According to the magazine, false documents to make the parts for military aircraft appear to be replacement parts for civilian aviation, have already been made.