• European officials have previously underlined the close relationship between Moscow and Beijing.
  • CNBC reported in January that Russia is still obtaining Western technology despite ongoing sanctions.
  • China, Hong Kong, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have been increasingly important in funneling critical components to Russia from western countries, according to the research.
This pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and China's President Xi Jinping heading to a group photo session during the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 18, 2023.

The European Union is looking to sanction Chinese firms that it believes have helped Russia circumvent Western penalties, looking to slap measures against these mainland China businesses for the first time since the war began, three EU officials told CNBC.

The 27-member bloc is working on a 13th package of sanctions in the wake of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which could be ready later this month to mark the second-year anniversary of the war.