I would think twice about getting in any aircraft piloted by this guy!
In a frankly surprising move, China has refused to supply aircraft parts to Russian airlines, according to an official within Russia’s aviation authority.
As Putin’s war drags on, China has apparently decided to join the West in imposing at least a part of their sanctions package, contributing to the stranglehold on Russian aviation by refusing to supply parts to Russian airlines. The news was dropped by Russian news agencies on Thursday, who presented a Russian Air Transport Official, Valery Kudinov, stating how Russia was looking to source parts from countries like Turkey after failing to obtain them from China. Now take this news with a grain of salt. While I cannot see any obvious reason for Russia to hide the fact it’s receiving support from China, this is Russia we are talking about, and they’ve done sneakier more confusing things in the past. Just look at the recent statement from the Russian foreign minister claiming that their military shelled a children’s hospital because Nazi-supporting terrorists were hiding inside! Speculation aside, if true this news puts Russian aviation in a far worse situation than it’s already in. Prompting a statement from the Russian foreign ministry describing how the country’s passenger flights were now under threat from breakdowns, the country-wide industry is being subjected to measures which should see it taking hits worse than those suffered in the pandemic. Not only have multiple Western countries and the EU banned support for Russian airlines, but multiple countries like the UK and USA have outright banned any Russian aircraft from their skies.
Parliament went a step further earlier this week when they unveiled a new sanction allowing any Russian aircraft to be detained alongside banning all exports of aviation related goods. “Banning Russian-flagged planes from the U.K. and making it a criminal offense to fly them will inflict more economic pain on Russia and those close to the Kremlin,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said. This is a clear attack on those Russian Oligarchs we’ve been hearing so much about, essentially booting them and their private jets out the country. This is a major financial line for the Kremlin, and it’s being hit exceptionally hard at the moment. As I said earlier, however, it’s surprising to see China getting involved. The country has astutely refused to take sides in the conflict, condemning NATO and the US for imposing sanctions which it described as pushing Russia to ‘breaking point.’ On top of this, the country’s foreign minister, Zhao Lijian, stated recently that their position on the war is “consistent and clear cut.”
So why are they not sending over support for their ally’s aviation industry? On top of that, the Chinese administration has been rather cagey when asked whether they would label Putin’s invasion as a war or not, clearly trying to remain in a neutral position. Lijian also stated that the West should avoid undermining China’s rights or interests through sanctions aimed at Russia. It sounds to me like China just wants to take a back seat with this crisis, not overtly showing support for either side and caring more about protecting their own interests than Russia’s (so business as usual for the country then!) There is a point to be made here regarding the $150 billion in trade China maintains with Russia, which will undoubtedly be impacted by sanctions on the Russian economy. However, there is yet to be any overt condemnation of either the invasion or sanctions – only statements of concern regarding any risk to China’s financial investments. In my opinion, China is playing it safe. They want to take a back seat and watch how this invasion pans out to gauge what a potential Western response might look like to any move it makes to ‘reclaim’ Taiwan. Understandably, they don’t want to get caught up in the crippling sanctions which have been imposed on Russia – even if that means worsening ties to its most powerful ally. Regardless, it’s not looking good for the Russian aviation industry. The longer Putin decides to drag this war on, the worse it’s going to get economically for Russian industry.