Russia is asking CHINA for military equipment to try and prop-up its flagging Ukrainian invasion after running out of weapons three weeks into conflict, US officials warn
- A U.S. official reports that Russia in recent days has asked China for military equipment to help bolster its sluggish invasion
- The official did not provide details on the scope of the request, which was first reported by the Financial Times and The Washington Post
- The U.S. and China are sending top aides to meet in Rome on Monday amid mounting tensions between the two countries
- White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan bluntly warned China to avoid helping Russia evade punishment from global sanctions
- Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put China in a delicate spot with two of its biggest trading partners: the U.S. and European Union
- China needs access to those markets, yet it also has made gestures supportive of Moscow, joining with Russia in declaring a friendship with ‘no limits’
Russia has asked China for military equipment after running out of weapons during its sluggish invasion of Ukraine, US officials have claimed.
Details on what types of weaponry were requested, and whether China has moved to supply Vladimir Putin’s government have yet to emerge – but the request has sparked extreme concern among western governments.
On Sunday night, the US was said to be preparing to warn its allies, amid some indications that China may be preparing to help Russia out, the Financial Times reported.
Other US officials have said there were signs that Russia was running out of some kinds of weaponry as the war in Ukraine extends into its third week.
Russia, which calls its action in Ukraine a ‘special operation,’ rather than an invasion or war, has tightened cooperation with Xi Jinping’s communist government after both nations came under strong Western pressure over human rights and a raft of other issues.
A U.S. official reports that Russia in recent days has asked China for military equipment to help press its campaign. Pictured, Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk to each other during a meeting in Beijing last month
Azov Regiment destroyed Russian armored vehicles. They also received enemy documentation with a list of units and Russian addresses
Beijing has not condemned Russia’s attack and does not call it an invasion, but has urged a negotiated solution.
‘China is deeply concerned and grieved on the Ukraine situation,’ Liu Pengyu, the Chinese embassy spokesperson in Washington, said, adding that he was not aware of any suggestions China might be willing to help Russia.
‘We sincerely hope that the situation will ease and peace will return at an early date.’
The White House’s National Security Council declined to comment.
The Washington Post said the unidentified U.S. officials did not state the kind of weaponry that had been requested or how China had responded.
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via teleconference in Moscow, pictured last Thursday
Debris of a military plane is seen after it was shot by Ukrainian forces on the 10th day of Russian attacks on Ukraine in Chernihiv, Ukraine last week
U.S. National Security advisor Jake Sullivan will be in Rome on Monday to meet with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi, the White House said earlier.
In advance of the talks, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan bluntly warned China to avoid helping Russia evade punishment from global sanctions that have hammered the Russian economy. ‘We will not allow that to go forward,’ he said.
The White House said the talks will focus on the direct impact of Russia´s war against Ukraine on regional and global security.
U.S. officials are also accusing China of spreading Russian disinformation that could be a pretext for chemical or biological weapons attacks launched by Vladimir Putin’s forces in Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put China in a delicate spot with two of its biggest trading partners: the U.S. and European Union. China needs access to those markets, yet it also has made gestures supportive of Moscow, joining with Russia in declaring a friendship with ‘no limits.’
The U.S. and China are sending top aides to meet in Rome on Monday amid mounting tensions between the two countries. China’s President Xi Jinping is pictured last week.Beijing has not condemned Russia’s attack and does not call it an invasion, but has urged a negotiated solution
In his talks with senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi, Sullivan will indeed be looking for limits in what Beijing will do for Moscow.
‘I´m not going to sit here publicly and brandish threats,’ he told CNN in a round of Sunday news show interviews. ‘But what I will tell you is we are communicating directly and privately to Beijing that there absolutely will be consequences’ if China helps Russia ‘backfill’ its losses from the sanctions.
‘We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country anywhere in the world,’ he said.
China has been one of few countries to avoid criticizing the Russians for its invasion of Ukraine. China’s Xi Jinping hosted Putin for the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, just weeks before Russia launched the Feb. 24 invasion.
During Putin’s visit to China last month, the two leaders issued a 5,000-word statement declaring limitless friendship.
This general view shows destroyed Russian armored vehicles in the city of Bucha, west of Kyiv, on March 4, 2022
A Russian tank is pictured having been destroyed by Ukrainian soldiers
Civilians build iron barricades and traps to block armored vehicles to help defend the city amid Russian attacks in Lviv, Ukraine on March 3, 2022
The Chinese abstained on U.N. votes censuring Russia and has criticized economic sanctions against Moscow. It has expressed its support for peace talks and offered its services as a mediator, despite questions about its neutrality and scant experience mediating international conflict.
But questions remain over how far Beijing will go to alienate the alliance and put its own economy at risk. Sullivan said China and all countries are on notice that they cannot ‘basically bail Russia out … give Russia a workaround to the sanctions,’ with impunity.
Chinese officials have said Washington shouldn´t be able to complain about Russia´s actions because the U.S. invaded Iraq under false pretenses. The U.S. claimed to have evidence Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction though none was ever found.
On CNN, Sullivan said the administration believes China knew that 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 that he lied to Europeans and others.’
Sullivan and Yang last met for face-to-face talks in Switzerland, where Sullivan raised the Biden administration’s concerns about China’s military provocations against Taiwan, human rights abuses against ethnic minorities and efforts to squelch pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong.
President Biden is sending his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, for talks with a senior Chinese official in Rome on Monday. The meeting comes as concerns grow that China is amplifying Russian disinformation in the Ukraine war
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles in the city of Bucha, west of Kyiv
A Russian army tank moves on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine, last Friday
Biden administration officials say Beijing is spreading false Russian claims that Ukraine was running chemical and biological weapons labs with U.S. support. They say China is effectively providing cover if Russia moves ahead with a biological or chemical weapons attack on Ukrainians.
When Russia starts accusing other countries of preparing to launch biological or chemical attacks, Sullivan told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ ‘it´s a good tell that they may be on the cusp of doing it themselves.’
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ said ‘we haven´t seen anything that indicates some sort of imminent chemical or biological attack right now, but we´re watching this very, very closely.’
The striking U.S. accusations about Russian disinformation and Chinese complicity came after Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova alleged with no evidence that the U.S. was financing Ukrainian chemical and biological weapons labs.
The Russian claim was echoed by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who claimed there were 26 bio-labs and related facilities in ‘which the U.S. Department of Defense has absolute control.’ The United Nations has said it has received no information backing up such accusations.
An explosion seen in an apartment building after Russian’s army tank fires in Mariupol, Friday
Pro-Russian separatists patrol with armored vehicles in the pro-Russian separatists-controlled Donetsk, Ukraine on Friday. Troops patrolled the areas in the Donetsk region controlled by pro-Russian separatists
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the claims ‘preposterous.’
‘Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them,’ Psaki tweeted last week. ‘It´s a clear pattern.’
There is growing concern inside the White House that China is aligning itself with Russia on the Ukraine war in hopes it will advance Beijing´s ‘vision of the world order’ in the long term, according to a person familiar with administration thinking. The person was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Sullivan told ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS that the Russian rhetoric on chemical and biological warfare is ‘an indicator that, in fact, the Russians are getting ready to do it and try and pin the blame elsewhere and nobody should fall for that.’
A Russian armored personnel carrier burns amid damaged and abandoned light utility vehicles after fighting in Kharkiv, Ukraine, at the start of the invasion on February 27
The international community for years has assessed that Russia has used chemical weapons in carrying out assassination attempts against Putin detractors 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 in a decade-long civil war.
Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, CIA Director William Burns also noted grave concern that Russia might be laying the groundwork for a chemical or biological attack of its own, which it would then blame on the U.S. or Ukraine in a false flag operation.
‘This is something, as all of you know very well, is very much a part of Russia´s playbook,’ he said. ‘They´ve used these weapons against their own citizens, they´ve at least encouraged the use in Syria and elsewhere, so it´s something we take very seriously.’
Drone footage released by Ukraine Armed Forces on Saturday shows a column of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles are ambushed as they advance in Kyiv region. Russian troops are moving towards closer to Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, according to British officials
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