In a post shared on X (formerly Twitter) by the user The Dead District, Russian troops – allegedly special forces operators – can be seen taking photos and videos with the new Desertcross-1000-3 ATV.
The same model of ATV was shown in an earlier report by TASS, Russia’s state media site, showing Russian President Putin inspecting the same type of vehicle alongside senior military officers, with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stating the vehicle was “extremely in demand.”
According to the report, 537 basic versions of the ATVs are currently in service, with 1,500 more vehicles equipped with additional extras on the way. The basic version costs $17,200 per unit with the upgraded version costing $22,800.
The Desertcross-1000-3 unit in question is made by Shandong Odes Industry, a leading manufacturer of ATVs in China. It is a subsidiary of Shandong Liangzi Power Limited Company, with Odes being a major export branch of the business.
Odes exports ATVs globally, with a Chinese article claiming in October that Russia and the five Central Asian countries are its biggest customers. The article said the value of its exports had reached approximately $54,600,000 between January and August this year.
The figures, if accurate, would mean the new contract from the Russian military will make up more than half of the company’s 2023 revenue.
Despite having a dealership network in the US, the company is currently not under US sanctions.
While the vehicle is available for purchase on the company’s Russian site, Chinese users expressed difficulty in purchasing the vehicle domestically.
A video depicting a similar model intended for sale in Australia could be seen in a video on Douyin (the Chinese equivalent of TikTok), and with comments from Chinese users, saying the model is export-only and is unavailable in China. However, it is possible the model is sold domestically under a different name.
It is not known if the Chinese government is involved in any of these transactions.
A recent statement from the White House said there has been no evidence of China providing weapons to Russia. However, an earlier unclassified US intelligence report said China did supply Russia with equipment “classified as dual-use.”
Ukraine has also discovered a growing number of Chinese-made components in Russian equipment.
China said it did not, and would not sell arms to either Ukraine or Russia in the current war, as reported earlier by Kyiv Post. However, Russia’s procurement of vehicles for military use through civilian manufacturers has raised questions about the ambiguity and effectiveness of export controls and sanctions in the current war.
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