(Bloomberg) — U.S. officials say Russia has asked China for military help for its invasion of Ukraine, a sign the Biden administration is growing concerned about its role in the conflict. Vladimir Putin’s most powerful diplomatic partner.
A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not specify what kind of equipment Moscow demonstrated.. The official declined to reveal how the Administration obtained these details. Another US official said the request is not new and was made just after the Russian invasion on February 24. White House spokesmen declined to comment.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday rejected the reports of the Russian request, calling them “disinformation” and “malicious.”
“The top priority now is for all sides to exercise restraint to de-escalate and cool down the situation rather than fuel tensions,” Zhao told a regular news conference in Beijing. “We should promote a diplomatic agreement instead of further escalating the tension.”
This latest event comes as the United States and China plan to hold their first high-level talks in person since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The White House reported that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met in Rome on Monday with China’s top diplomat, Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi.
The meeting is part of the Biden Administration’s continued pressure on Beijing to exert its influence on Putin to putan end to the crisis and it was organized before the news about Russia’s rapprochement with China broke. The Russian embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.
As the conflict extends into its third week, Putin’s campaign has struggled. The question is whether it is in President Xi Jinping’s interest to honor any Russian arms request and trigger the biggest change in China’s foreign policy since Richard Nixon’s visit in 1972.
Xi has tried to strike a balance by neither condemning nor supporting Putin’s actions. But while Russia sells far more weapons to China than it buys, Beijing’s rapid modernization of military has led it to produce more advanced weapons in recent years.
Sending weapons would risk serious economic sanctions for Chinese companies and a major escalation in trade tensions with the US at an extremely sensitive time.
As the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, Xi is consolidating power and has made stability a priority ahead of a five-yearly party congress due later this year that is expected to Get a third term. China has said that it wants a quick resolution to the war, and there is no indication that it wants to help prolong a conflict that is badly affecting financial and energy markets.
Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said he was not aware of any suggestion that China might respond to help Russia: “China is deeply concerned and distressed about the situation in Ukraine. We sincerely hope that the situation will ease and peace will return soon.”
The Biden Administration believes that China knew before the invasion that Putin was planning somethingSullivan told CNN on Sunday, a confirmation that Beijing has denied.
The US is now watching whether China provides material or economic support to Russia. “It’s our concern,” Sullivan said. “I am not going to sit here publicly and make threats, but what I will tell you is that we are communicating directly, in private, with Beijing.”
Beijing has refrained from condemning Russia for its actions in Ukraine, but has also repeatedly called for a negotiated ceasefire and resolution of the conflict. When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, China was officially neutral.
Although China has continued to provide diplomatic support to Russia after the invasion, even spreading a conspiracy theory about bio-laboratories operated by the US.. In Ukraine, Beijing officials have also expressed concern about civilian casualties, endorsed Ukraine’s sovereignty, and stepped up diplomacy with European nations while calling for peace talks.
US says Russia sought military help from China for Ukraine war
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