Russia has asked China for military help in Ukraine, US officials say
15 March 2022
Russia has asked China for military equipment to support its invasion of Ukraine, according to US officials on Sunday.
Several US officials speaking anonymously with the Financial Times said that Russia had requested military equipment and other assistance since the start of the invasion, but declined to comment on what exactly it had requested.
Ahead of talks with senior Chinese officials in Rome on Monday, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan warned China that there will be “consequences” for any large-scale efforts to circumvent sanctions.
“We will ensure that neither China, nor anyone else, can compensate Russia for these losses.”
Zhao Lijian, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, dismissed the claims as “disinformation” from the US and reiterated China’s opposition to Western “unilateral sanctions”, adding that China will safeguard the rights of Chinese businesses.
In the past, China has traditionally bought its military equipment from Russia; the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated that from 2016 to 2020, 77% of China’s total arms imports were from Russia.
But with a growing budget, China has decreased its dependence on foreign weapons and expanded its military production capabilities in recent years.
While refusing to condemn or support Russia’s invasion, and expressing concern for the humanitarian crisis, China has also refrained from labeling the situation as a war or an invasion.
President Xi Jinping and Putin signed a joint statement in Beijing February 4, describing their partnership as having “no limits” ahead of last month’s Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
According to a former top CIA China analyst, Russia’s request has demonstrated that China-Russia relations are the closest they have been since the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s.
Writer: Luc Hillion
Photo Credits: AP