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US sanctions Chinese firm for providing satellite imagery of Ukraine to Russia's Wagner Group


London, Jan 27
The US has sanctioned a Chinese company for allegedly providing satellite imagery of Ukraine to support the mercenary Wagner Group's combat operations for Russia, according to media report.

The Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute is among 16 entities slapped with curbs by the US Treasury Department, BBC reported.

The firm, also known as Spacety China, has offices in Beijing and Luxembourg.

Wagner Group supplies thousands of fighters to Russia for the Ukraine war, BBC reported.

Spacety China had provided Terra Tech, a Russia-based technology firm, with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite images of locations in Ukraine, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a statement on Thursday.

"These images were gathered in order to enable Wagner's combat operations in Ukraine," it said.

The department has also sanctioned Spacety's Luxembourg-based subsidiary, BBC reported.

Under the sanctions, there can be no transfer, payment, or export of any property or interests in the United States to the targeted entities.

Spacety China is yet to respond to the move.

China, a close ally of Russia, has attempted to position itself as a neutral party with regard to the Ukraine war. It has been criticised by the US and its allies for refusing to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

On its website, Spacety China describes itself as a "pioneer" in providing commercial SAR technology and says it wants to "make SAR imagery of every point on earth accessible and affordable" to users all over the world.

SAR is a type of radar technology that can deliver higher resolution images using shorter antennas.

Its CEO Yang Feng is part of China's Ministry of Science and Technology's panel of experts, according to the company's website, BBC reported.