Irrespective of whether one thinks they should have been imposed before the war started rather than after or whether one deems them sufficiently robust or not, there is no doubt the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies have had a devastating impact on the Russian economy.

Even at the tightly controlled exchanges in Moscow, the ruble has lost one-third of its value since Russia invaded its neighbor. The country’s main stock market, the Moscow Exchange, having shut down on the day after the war started, reopened this week under stringent rules that prevented foreign investors from selling their shares — in part to prevent the fulfillment of President Joe Biden’s boast that the exchange would “blow up” and that “the moment it opens up, it will be disbanded.”

The speed and the scope with which Russia has become economically isolated has surprised even some of those advocating for stiff sanctions, although whether any of this will be sufficient to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his war in Ukraine is another question altogether. At the time of writing, indiscriminate attacks on non-combatants seem to be on the increase and the Russian army’s theater of operations expanding, despite its advance being stymied by a heroic Ukrainian resistance.

What has received very little attention, much less consideration, is the long-term impact of this on supply chains for certain critical minerals and other vital materials on which the energy transition and future technological innovation. A narrative getting less attention are the consequences of the Chinese exploiting the crisis with the attempt to control a greater share of critical mineral assets.

Even before the current crisis in Ukraine, some of these supply chains, such as the one for batteries for electric vehicles, were already at risk of “hold up” because, as the Biden administration’s own 100-day review last year determined, “China has positioned itself as a market leader in the manufacturing supply chain through the practice of questionable environmental policies, price distortion, state-run entities that minimize competition, and large subsidies.”

It would not just be ironic, but strategically catastrophic, if the success of the economic punishment of Russia resulted in further consolidation of the Chinese dominance over these supply chains.

Consider just two minerals that are essential to achieving anything close to the climate action goals espoused by the world just months ago at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26).

Cobalt is a key component of rechargeable batteries inside smartphones and laptops as well as the larger ones needed to power electric vehicles and store energy from solar, wind, and other renewable sources. Slightly more than half of the world’s commercially exploitable cobalt reserves are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the country accounts for about 70% of global production.

Chinese companies have largely cornered that sector, controlling 15 of the 19 cobalt-producing mines in the country, although the Congolese government is currently reviewing many of the contracts.

Moreover, virtually all of the cobalt produced in the African country—and in several other countries as well—gets shipped off to be processed in China, which controls about three-quarters of the total global supply of refined cobalt. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, after the DRC, the second-largest producer of cobalt in the world is Russia.

Although it does not have the cachet of cobalt, nickel is likewise indispensable to the energy transition because the amount of the metal in cathodes boosts energy density and, consequently, the range of EVs: a typical Tesla model, for example, contains about 45 kilograms of nickel.

While the global reserves of nickel are more dispersed than those of cobalt, Chinese firms have nonetheless likewise succeeded in cornering the market on processed nickel, vacuuming up an outsized share of top producer Indonesia’s mining output, for example, although the biggest Chinese company in the business recently racked up $8 billion in trading losses, causing a suspension of trades of the metal on the London Metals Exchange.

Russia has some of the world’s largest reserves of nickel and is the third-largest producer of the metal, mining some 250,000 tons last year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, mostly by Norilsk Nickel, a London Stock Exchange-listed company that is the world’s largest producer of battery-grade nickel, supplying about 20% of the world’s demand.

As I’ve argued in the past, there is a fundamental difference between multinational publicly traded companies and state-owned enterprises, and the former are much more reliable partners than the latter.

U.S. policy should view publicly traded multinationals beyond America’s circle of political allies as more trustworthy links than their government-controlled counterparts in building resilient supply chains, and consider similarly situated multinationals with diverse supply chains as potential partners.

With not just sanctions and the increasing isolation of Russia from global financial markets, but reputational concerns driving Western companies out of the Russian economy, the danger is that Chinese firms, unencumbered by either and, indeed, positively encouraged by their government, will step in to fill the void. The just-concluded session of the National People’s Congress approved a work plan that included making it a priority to fund and “nurture specialized and sophisticated enterprises” involved in energy and critical minerals.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week declared Sino-Russian relations “rock solid.” This comment suggests China could leverage a weakened Russian economy’s reliance on it to increase and consolidate its dominance of supply chains for critical minerals even beyond the current level. If such is the case, the result may well be a strategic misfire on the part of the United States and its allies.

The U.S. and allied governments should do everything possible to prevent China’s greater foothold in controlling critical mineral supply chains.

Ambassador J. Peter Pham is an Atlantic Council Distinguished Fellow and previously served as U.S. Special Envoy for the Sahel Region and Great Lakes Regions of Africa.