US official says Russia is asking for military help from China
A US official said Russia has asked China for military equipment to use in its invasion of Ukraine, a request that is heightening tensions over the war as top aides to the US and Chinese governments clash. met on Monday in Rome.
Ahead of the talks, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan bluntly warned China to avoid helping Russia evade global sanctions that have hit the Russian economy. We will not allow this to continue, he said.
Russia on Monday denied needing help from China.
No, Russia has its own potential to continue the operation, which, as we said, is going according to plan and will be completed on time and in full, said Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin .
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said talks with the United States were underway at around 11:50 a.m. Rome time (1050 GMT), but gave no details.
The prospect of China offering financial aid to Russia is one of President Joe Biden’s many concerns. A US official said that in recent days Russia had requested support from China, including military hardware, to advance its ongoing war with Ukraine. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, did not provide details on the scope of the request. The request was first reported by the Financial Times and the Washington Post.
The Russians have suffered major losses of tanks, helicopters and other equipment since the start of the war more than two weeks ago. Ukraine, although overwhelmed by Russian forces, is well equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
The Biden administration also accuses China of spreading Russian disinformation that could be used as a pretext for Putin’s forces to attack Ukraine with chemical or biological weapons.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put China in an awkward position with two of its main trading partners: the United States and the European Union. China needs access to these markets, but it has also shown its support for Moscow, joining Russia in declaring boundless friendship.
In his talks with senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi, Sullivan will indeed be looking for limits to what Beijing will do for Moscow.
“I’m not going to sit here publicly and make threats,” he said Sunday, making the rounds on Sunday newscasts. But what I will tell you is that we are communicating directly and privately to Beijing that there will absolutely be consequences if China helps Russia make up for its sanctions losses.
Without giving details, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that the situation in Ukraine will certainly be “a hot topic” at the meeting, which was scheduled before Russia invaded its country. next to.
Asked during a daily briefing about the Russian request for assistance, Zhao replied: The United States has recently been spreading disinformation targeting China on the Ukraine issue. It’s malicious.”
What is urgent now is for all parties to show restraint and work to calm the situation, rather than fueling tension,” Zhao told reporters. We should promote diplomatic settlements instead of further aggravating the situation.
The White House said the talks will focus on the direct impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on regional and global security.
Biden administration officials say Beijing is spreading false Russian claims that Ukraine ran chemical and biological weapons labs with US backing. They say China is effectively providing cover if Russia pursues a biological or chemical weapons attack on the Ukrainians.
When Russia starts accusing other countries of preparing to launch biological or chemical attacks, Sullivan said on Sunday, that’s a good indication that they might be on the verge of doing it themselves.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on ABC’s This Week said we haven’t seen anything that would indicate any kind of imminent chemical or biological attack at this time, but we’re monitoring it very, very closely.
The stark US accusations of Russian disinformation and Chinese complicity came after Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova alleged without any evidence that the US was funding Ukrainian weapons labs chemical and biological.
The Russian claim was echoed by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao, who claimed there were 26 biological laboratories and related facilities over which the US Department of Defense has absolute control. The UN said it had not received any information supporting such accusations.
There is growing concern inside the White House that China is siding with Russia on the war in Ukraine in hopes it will advance Beijing’s vision of the long-term world order, according to a person familiar with the administration’s view who spoke on condition of anonymity. because the official was not authorized to comment publicly.
Sullivan said on CBS that Russian rhetoric on chemical and biological warfare is “an indicator that in fact the Russians are preparing to do this and trying to lay the blame elsewhere and no one should fall for it.”
The international community believed that Russia used chemical weapons in an attempt to assassinate Putin critics such as Alexei Navalny and former spy Sergei Skripal. Russia also supports the Assad government in Syria, which has used chemical weapons against its people during a decade of civil war.
China was one of the few countries to avoid criticizing the Russians for its invasion of Ukraine. Chinese leader Xi Jinping hosted Putin for the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, just three weeks before the Russian invasion on February 24. During Putin’s visit, the two leaders issued a 5,000-word statement declaring friendship without limits.
The Chinese abstained in UN votes censuring Russia and criticized economic sanctions against Moscow. He expressed his support for the peace talks and offered his services as a mediator, despite questions about his neutrality and little experience in mediating international conflicts.
But questions remain about how far Beijing will go to alienate the West and put its own economy at risk. Sullivan said China and all countries are on notice that they basically cannot bail out Russia…give Russia a sanctions-busting solution, with impunity.
Chinese officials have said Washington should not be able to complain about Russia’s actions because the United States invaded Iraq under false pretenses. The United States claimed to have evidence that Saddam Hussein stockpiled weapons of mass destruction, although none was ever found.
On CNN, Sullivan said the administration believed China knew Putin was planning something before the invasion of Ukraine. But he said the Chinese government “may not have understood the full extent of it because it’s very possible that Putin lied to them the same way he lied to the Europeans and others. “.