Chinese Armored Trucks Debut in Chechnya

Chinese Armored Trucks Debut in Chechnya wsjrenewal

Chinese-built Armored Trucks, showcased in a video posted online by the leader of Chechnya, have sparked concerns about potential Chinese support for Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine. Ramzan Kadyrov uploaded a video to his official Telegram account, featuring eight unarmed armored personnel carriers, believed to be the multipurpose model known as the Tiger or China Tiger. Shaanxi Baoji Special Vehicles Manufacturing manufactures these vehicles, designed for limited military combat and riot-police operations, with the option of mounting rooftop weaponry.

The appearance of these Chinese trucks in Chechnya raises questions about their purpose and Kadyrov’s intentions in showcasing them. While the origins and deployment of these vehicles remain unclear, analysts suggest that their presence in Ukraine would hold more symbolic value than military significance, considering the scrutiny surrounding China’s stance on Russia’s war.

China has been reluctant to directly arm Russia during the Ukraine conflict, positioning itself as a regional peacemaker while boosting trade ties with its neighbor. However, Beijing’s exports of armored vehicles, including the Tiger, to various countries have been on the rise.

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It is worth noting that China has no official record of selling Tigers to Russia, as Russia typically relies on domestically produced armored personnel carriers. This unexpected import from China could indicate production challenges on Russia’s part.

The video shows Kadyrov driving one of the eight Chinese APCs, which were prominently on display alongside numerous military-style vehicles in front of his official residence. Kadyrov emphasized the importance of equipping Chechen units involved in the conflict, stating that acquiring military equipment was crucial for enhancing their effectiveness in achieving assigned tasks.

Although exporting vehicles like the Tiger to conflict zones may yield little benefit for China due to their limited battlefield capabilities and easy identification, Chinese trucks have become increasingly vital for Russia. The war has witnessed a surge in Chinese sales of heavy-duty trucks, which support Russia’s logistics operations. These trucks indirectly contribute to Moscow’s war effort, as Russia heavily relies on them for transportation.

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While military experts acknowledge the Tiger’s potential use as ambulances or for mortar launch crews, they also note that the model’s level of protection may be insufficient for intense combat scenarios.

Some suggest that additional armor would be more desirable than increased speed in the Ukrainian conflict. Nonetheless, the company behind the Tiger, Baoji, claims that the vehicle’s armor can withstand AK-47 gunfire and that Chinese peacekeepers have employed it in Lebanon and Haiti.

As the presence of Chinese armored trucks in Chechnya garners attention, it remains unclear how this development fits into the complex relationship between Kadyrov and Moscow. While questions about China’s role in supporting Russia’s military campaign persist, we require additional analysis and information to determine the genuine implications of these Chinese-built armored vehicles in Chechnya.

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