The European Union is seeking to tighten its economic screws on Russia by sanctioning Chinese companies that conduct trade with Moscow, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.
Seven Chinese businesses have been named in a new package of restrictions that the EU member states will discuss this week, the report says, citing a copy of the sanctions list seen by the paper.
According to the FT, the list includes two mainland Chinese companies, 3HC Semiconductors and King-Pai Technology, and five from Hong Kong, including Sinno Electronics, Sigma Technology, Asia Pacific Links, Tordan Industry, and Alpha Trading Investments.
To take effect, the new sanctions need to be unanimously approved by all 27 EU member states.
The businesses have reportedly been accused of selling equipment that could be used by Moscow in weapons manufacturing.
Some of these companies have already been placed under sanctions by the US.
The European Commission believes it is “appropriate” to target certain entities “in third countries involved in the circumvention of trade restrictions” against Russia, the FT quoted the sanctions proposal as saying.
Until now, the FT noted, the EU has avoided targeting China, saying there was no evidence that Beijing was directly providing weapons to Moscow.
The EU has so far imposed 10 rounds of economic sanctions against Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.
The EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, admitted last month that the bloc had nearly exhausted its options for punitive measures against Moscow.
Since then, it has been reported that EU lawmakers are considering targeting third countries that re-export goods to Russia, thus helping Moscow to circumvent trade restrictions.
China is insisting on a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict, and proposed a 12-point peace plan in February, calling for the security concerns of each side to be addressed.
Josep Borrell dismissed Beijing’s proposals last week as “wishful thinking” and insisted that any peace plan must be based on Kiev’s demands.