China on Monday accused the US of “outright bullying and double standards” in levelling what it called “illegal” sanctions on Chinese companies as part of US actions against Russia’s Wagner Group and related companies and individuals.
The entities were targeted for their role in the war in Ukraine and mercenary activities, including human rights abuses, in Africa.
The sanctions “have no basis in international law or authorisation from the Security Council, and are typical illegal unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction”, foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a daily briefing.
The punitive measures were “seriously harming China’s interests” and China “strongly rejects and deplores that and has lodged solemn complaints with the US side”, Mao said.
“While the US has intensified its efforts to send weapons to one of the parties to the conflict, resulting in an endless war, it has frequently spread false information about China’s supply of weapons to Russia, taking the opportunity to sanction Chinese companies for no reason,” she said.
“This is outright bullying and double standards.”
The treasury and state departments announced the moves in coordinated statements that targeted dozens of Wagner Group affiliates, including some in the Central African Republic and the UAE, as well as the president of Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern, the original manufacturer of the AK-47 assault rifle.
Wagner, a private Russian military company, has been involved in heavy fighting in the east of Ukraine.
The sanctions also hit the Chinese company Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute Co.Ltd., also known as Spacety China, which has supplied Wagner Group affiliates with satellite imagery of Ukraine that support Wagner’s military operations there.
A Luxembourg-based subsidiary of Spacety China was also targeted.
China said on Monday it sought dialogue and a peaceful solution for Ukraine despite US warnings that Beijing might be considering weapons supplies for its ally Russia’s invasion.
Air-raid sirens blared in the capital Kyiv and other cities overnight and a Russian missile killed one person in the western town of Khmelnitskyi, Mayor Oleksandr Symshyshyn said on the Telegram messaging app. China has refused to condemn the onslaught and last week published a 12-point plan calling for a ceasefire and gradual de-escalation by both sides.
Ukraine’s military said early on Monday that Russia had launched 14 Iranian-made attack drones at targets across the country, as air-raid warnings blared for hours overnight in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.
The strikes left least two people dead in the western city of Khmelnytskyi, according to local officials.Eleven of the 14 drones were shot down by air defences, Ukraine’s military said.
As the war enters its second year, Russia has shown no sign of easing its attacks on Ukrainian cities.