US fears China might send Russia lethal military aid for Ukraine war
An NBC news report says that Washington is concerned that China will send lethal military aid to Moscow as the latter prepares for a spring offensive in Ukraine.
The US is concerned that China might be planning to send lethal military support to Russia, while Washington currently believes that Moscow is receiving non-lethal military equipment from Beijing.
A report published by NBC News on Saturday, citing four US officials, claimed that while China has helped Russia promote its 'disinformation campaign' regarding the war in Ukraine, the move to send non-lethal assistance to Russia would be considered tangible direct assistance to be used by the Russian military in Ukraine.
The non-lethal assistance might include military gear such as body armor or combat uniforms in preparations for the alleged spring offensive, said the sources, while declining to add further details.
The United States had warned China just a few weeks after the beginning of the war against supporting Russia in light of its operation in Ukraine.
“We have been clear about our concerns about lethal aid. We have not yet seen them cross that line, but we don’t think they have taken it off the table,” according to a source informed on the matter.
Beijing is trying “to creep up to the line without getting caught,” one of the sources added, noting that recent developments might suggest that China is likely to provide Russia with military-grade support.
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi discussed the issue on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) today, and according to a source familiar with the discussion, Beijing's military support to Moscow was “an essential topic of conversation.”
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In her address during the MSC on Saturday, US Vice President Kamala Harris said that Russia and China have grown closer since the war in Ukraine began.
“We are also troubled that Beijing has deepened its relationship with Moscow since the war began,” she said. “Looking ahead, any steps by China to provide lethal support to Russia would only reward aggression, continue the killing, and further undermine a rules-based order.”
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According to a report by CNN last January, Washington raised concerns with China over evidence found that indicates that firms in Beijing are sending non-lethal military assistance to the Russian military fighting in Ukraine.
However, US officials claim that the military assistance is coming directly from China's government.
The officials noted that it is not yet clear whether the assistance violates existing sanctions, nor if the United States will adopt new sanctions on China, however, according to sources close to the Biden administration, Washington will not hold back on targeting those who violate Western sanctions on Russia.
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