Wang Jing, the Chinese tycoon born in 1972 who made headlines in 2017 when he attempted to take over Ukraine's military aircraft engine maker Motor Sich, has a knack for aligning his business interests with Beijing's military ambitions. His bid to obtain a controlling stake in Motor Sich through his company Beijing Skyrizon Aviation stirred up a storm in Kiev's defence industry and prompted Washington to step in to stop the strategic aerospace firm from falling into China's hands. The Trump administration, which has been searching for months for potential buyers, reportedly approached Erik Prince, founder of the security contractor Blackwater, before turning to Nabil Barakat, a former business partner of France's Thales in the Middle East.
Kiev, too, has mobilized to prevent its top defense firm from slipping away. A court froze the transaction in 2017 on national security grounds and Ukraine's intelligence agency, the SBU, raided Motor Sich's offices a year later. According to reports, Ukraine's anti-trust authority is expected to block the sale of Motor Sich to Skyrizon this month.