US intelligence has shown Russia has requested weapons and aid from long term ally China. The news has amped up the pressure on China to decry the terror being brought upon Ukraine by its ally’s forces, as the conflict comes up to its fourth week.
Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan, said this week: “We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them.
“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.”
Liu Pengyu, the Chinese embassy spokesperson in Washington, said he was unaware of any suggestions that China might be willing to help Russia.
He said: “China is deeply concerned and grieved on the Ukraine situation.
“We sincerely hope that the situation will ease and peace will return at an early date.”
US officials headed to Rome on Monday to talk with Chinese diplomats, with the US describing the conversation as “candid” and “intense”.
A US official said: “We do have deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia at this time.”
So far, China’s leader Xi Jinping, has avoided criticising Moscow, but he has also tried to distance China from the crisis.
Has China sent Russia weapons?
As far as current intelligence is aware, China has not sent aid to Russia over the war in Ukraine.
But, Russia has requested China provide five types of equipment, including surface-to-air missiles.
According to the Financial Times, the other categories are drones, intelligence-related equipment, armoured vehicles, and vehicles used for logistics and support.
The Chinese embassy in the US on Sunday said it had no knowledge of any Russian request or positive Chinese response to Moscow.
The Kremlin also denied making any such request to China.
A senior US defence official declined to say if China had provided military support after Russia’s request, but said the Pentagon was watching the situation “very, very closely”.
They said: “If China does choose to materially support Russia in this war, there will likely be consequences for China.
“We have seen China basically give tacit approval to what Russia is doing by refusing to join sanctions, by blaming the west and the United States for assistance that we’re giving Ukraine [and] by claiming they wanted to see a peaceful outcome but essentially doing nothing to achieve it.”