Russia is in talks with a Chinese drone maker to supply it with self-explosive drones that could be deployed in Ukraine, German magazine Der Spiegel reported Friday.
The magazine said it has seen information indicating that Russia’s military is negotiating with Chinese drone manufacturer Xi’an Bingo Intelligent Aviation Technology to produce such drones for Moscow on a large scale.
The Chinese manufacturer, the report said, has agreed to build and test 100 ZT-180 prototype drones before delivering them to Russia by April 2023.
Each of the drones is reportedly able to carry between 35 to 50 kilogrammes of explosives.
As a further step, Bingo is reportedly planning to send Russia components and know-how for Moscow to manufacture the drones onsite.
Contacted by Spiegel, the Chinese foreign ministry denied armament supplies to Russia but did not address the specific allegation on drones.
It underlined however that NATO nations including the US are “the biggest source of weaponry for the battlefield in Ukraine”.
The United States on Sunday accused China of considering arming Russia in its war against Ukraine, ratcheting up tensions as the conflict hits its one-year mark on Friday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS that China was now “considering providing lethal support” to Moscow ranging “from ammunition to the weapons themselves.”