US mulls new actions against China firms supplying Russia defense sector

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows U.S. and Chinese flags

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States is considering taking additional steps against Chinese companies that have been supplying Russia's defense industrial sector, the State Department said on Thursday.

"We are considering further actions," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a briefing to reporters a day after Washington targeted China-based firms that have been selling semi-conductors to Moscow.

"Our hope is that companies engaged in rearming Russia's defense industrial base and bolstering Russia's defense industrial base so it can rearm the Russian military...will see these actions and think twice," he said.

The United States on Wednesday announced a major expansion of sanctions designed to undercut Russia's production of weapons for its war on Ukraine.

Among the actions, the Commerce Department said it was targeting Hong Kong shell companies for diverting semiconductors to Russia, in steps that would affect nearly $100 million of high-priority items for Moscow including such chips.

China said it opposed the sanctions and called the United States "extremely hypocritical and overbearing" for supplying weapons to Kyiv while pressing for an end to the war.

U.S.-made chips and other technology have been found in a wide array of Russian hardware, from drones to radios, missiles and armored vehicles recovered from the battlefield, Ukrainian officials say.

The conflict has raged since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay and Simon Lewis; Editing by Diane Craft and Leslie Adler)