Russia is said to have set up its own airlift to China. Apparently, the Russian cargo planes often turn off their transponders. Are Chinese military equipment shipments behind the secret Russian flights?

Last week, cargo planes are said to have flown between Moscow and China several times, reports the Ukrainian news portal Defense Express. The alleged flight data of the Russian flights gives reason to assume that this is about deliveries of Chinese military equipment to Russia. Because the Chinese cities of Zhengzhou and Urumchi that are flown to represent a large logistics and industrial center, and some armaments companies have branches there.

Since the start of the Ukraine war, the alliance between China and Russia has repeatedly been the focus of global interest. The relationship had recently cooled, and China had distanced itself. Is Xi Jinping secretly helping Putin after all?

A video posted on Chinese social networks reportedly shows a Russian cargo plane on the tarmac at Zhengzhou Airport. These are said to be Soviet-era aircraft of the type “Antonov An-124 Ruslan” operated by the Russian airline “Volga-Dnepr”.

The Antonov cargo planes were designed in the late 1970s as transport aircraft for the Soviet armed forces. The aircraft scores above all with its high payload. And it is precisely these cargo planes that are now supposed to operate between China and Moscow.

In the past seven days, nine flights to China and three return flights to Russia have been recorded by flight tracking services. This aspect makes the flights particularly suspicious: on some return flights, the “Antonov An-124” could have switched off their transponders, which meant that the flight radar could not be recorded.

This could have caused the difference between outbound and return flights, reports Defense Express. Accordingly, further flights with switched off transponders could also have been carried out.

In addition, Chinese eyewitnesses reported that body armour, helmets and clothing had been loaded onto the planes, reports the Ukrainian news portal. This could be an indication that Xi is now supporting Russia after all.

However, Xi’s public stance has been very different in recent weeks: at the G20 summit in Bali, it seemed as if China’s support for Russia was waning. China signed a final declaration critical of Russia and thus sided with the G20 nations.

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Should China actually deliver arms to Russia now, it would be one of the few nations, but not the only international supporter. Iran has recently become a solid partner alongside Russia in the Ukraine war. Iranian drones are already helping Putin to continue his war of aggression. In addition, according to reports, there should be further Iranian deliveries to Moscow.

So if Xi now also supplies Putin with weapons, this could further strengthen the Russian armed forces.