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Russia asked China for military assistance, according to US officials

Russia is believed to have asked China for military equipment and other support, US officials have said.

Sources in President Joe Biden’s government, speaking to NBC News, did not say whether China agreed to it and declined to say what equipment Russia has asked for and whether it is lethal.

The request has sparked concerns in the US and it is expected to be a key issue as Jake Sullivan, Mr Biden’s national security adviser, meets with China’s senior diplomat, Yang Jiechi, today in Rome.

China’s senior diplomat Yang Jiechi will meet with Jake Sullivan, Joe Biden’s national security adviser in Rome

The meeting was announced by the White House on Sunday and the meeting got under way on Monday.


Ukraine live updates as 140,000 civilians evacuated from conflict zones

It is understood the White House is concerned Beijing may undermine Western efforts to support Ukraine, according to sources cited by The Washington Post and Financial Times.

Earlier, Mr Sullivan said China will “absolutely” face consequences if it helps Moscow evade sanctions imposed by the West.

More on China

He told CNN: “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.

After the story appeared in multiple US news outlets, China’s embassy in Washington said it could not confirm the claims, adding it supports all efforts towards a peaceful settlement of the crisis.

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China is a close ally of Russia and like Moscow is giving viewers a limited view of what’s happening in Ukraine.

But later, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said the assertions amount to “disinformation” coming from the US.

In other developments

“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.”

Russia’s embassy in London did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Sky News.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Russia has not asked China for military assistance.

Mr Peskov added that Russia has enough military resources to fulfil all of its aims in Ukraine.

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How important a role will China play in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

China has so far been largely silent about the war in Ukraine.

Read more:
China must end its ‘chilling silence’ and act to bring about an end to the war, Australian prime minister says
China’s reaction to invasion has been defined by inaction but its influence is limited
China could hold key to pushing Putin to peace talks with Ukraine
Vladimir Putin turns to China as tensions with western leaders increase over Ukraine​​​​​​

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Beijing has declined to call the Russian attack on Ukraine an “invasion” while asking Western countries to respect Russia’s “legitimate security concerns”.

It has called for a solution through negotiations.

On 26 February, China abstained from voting on a UN Security Council draft resolution telling Moscow to stop attacking Ukraine.

Just weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin announced an upgraded “no limits” strategic partnership.


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