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Russia is strengthening cooperation with China in 5G and satellite technology, which could facilitate Moscow’s military aggression against Ukraine, warns a report from security think tank Royal United Services Institute ( RUSI), based in London.

THE reportpublished on March 1, asserts that while the integration of 5G networks on the battlefield may face domestic hurdles in Russia, the infrastructure for Chinese aid to Russian satellite systems already exists and can “facilitate the Russian military action in Ukraine.

China, which has close ties with Moscow, has refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and has offered economic support to Russia that has helped the Kremlin survive waves of sweeping Western sanctions.

Beijing has said that it does not sell deadly weapons to Russia for its war against Ukraine, but Western governments have repeatedly said this accused China to contribute to the flow of technology to Russia’s war effort despite Western sanctions.

The RUSI report details how cooperation between Russia and China in 5G and satellite technology can also help Russia on the battlefield in Ukraine.

“The massive deployment of drones and advanced telecommunications equipment has been crucial on all fronts in Ukraine, from intelligence gathering to airstrikes campaigns,” the report said.

“These technologies, while essential, require constant connectivity and geospatial support, making cooperation with China a potential solution to Moscow’s desire for a military breakthrough.”

According to the report, the development of the 5G network has taken on particular importance in Russian-Chinese strategic relations in recent years, resulting in a series of agreements between Chinese technology giant Huawei and Russian companies MTS and Beeline, both under sanctions from Canada for their related to the Russian military-industrial complex.

5G is a technology standard for cellular networks, which enables higher data transfer speeds than its predecessor, 4G. According to the RUSI report, 5G “has the potential to reshape the battlefield” through improved tracking of military objects, faster transfer and real-time processing of large sensor data sets, and improved communications.

These are “precisely the features that could make Russian-Chinese 5G cooperation extremely useful in a war context – and therefore create increased risk for Ukraine,” the report adds.

Although the report indicates that there are currently “operational and institutional constraints” to Russian integration of 5G technology on the battlefield, it has advantages that make it an “attractive priority” for Moscow, says Jack Crawford, research analyst at RUSI and one of the study’s authors. the report says.

“As Russia continues to seek battlefield advantages over Ukraine, recent 5G improvements against jamming technologies make 5G communications – on the ground and with weapons and aerial vehicles – a even more attractive priority,” Crawford told RFE/RL in an email statement. -response sent by mail.

However, satellite technology is already the focus of collaboration between China and Russia, the report said, highlighting recent major developments in the collaboration between the Russian satellite navigation system GLONASS and its Chinese equivalent Beidou.

In 2018, Russia and China agreed on the joint application of GLONASS/Beidou and decided in 2022 to build three Russian monitoring stations in China and three Chinese stations in Russia – in the city of Obninsk , about 100 kilometers southwest of Moscow, the Siberian region. city ​​of Irkutsk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Russian Far East.

Satellite technology can collect images, weather and terrain data, improve logistics management, track troop movements and improve accuracy in identifying and eliminating ground targets.

According to the report, GLONASS has already enabled Russian missile and drone strikes in Ukraine through satellite correction and supported communications between Russian troops.

The planned construction of Beidou’s Obninsk monitoring station, the closest of China’s three stations to Ukraine, would allow Russia to further leverage satellite cooperation with China against Ukraine, the report warns.

In 2022, Russian company Racurs, which provides software solutions for photogrammetry, GIS and remote sensing, signed satellite data sharing agreements with two Chinese companies. The deals were intended to replace contracts with Western satellite companies that suspended data supplies to Russia after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The two companies — HEAD Aerospace and Spacety — are both under punishments by the United States for providing satellite images of sites in Ukraine to entities affiliated with the Wagner mercenary group.

“At the moment, we cannot know exactly how this shared data informed specific decisions on the front line,” Roman Kolodii, a security expert at Charles University in Prague and one of of the authors of the report.

“However, given that Racurs is a partner of the Russian Defense Ministry, it is highly likely that this data will also end up strengthening Russia’s geospatial capabilities in the military domain.”

“Ultimately, such dynamic interactions with Chinese companies could improve Russian military logistics, reconnaissance capabilities, geospatial intelligence and drone deployment in Ukraine,” the report said.

The report comes as Western governments step up efforts to counter Russia’s attempt to evade sanctions imposed in response to its military aggression against Ukraine.

On February 23, the eve of the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the United States sanctions imposed on nearly 100 entities that help Russia evade trade sanctions and “provide backdoor support to the Russian war machine.”

THE list Among them are Chinese companies, accused of supporting “Russia’s military-industrial base”.

With reporting by Merhat Sharpizhanov

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