US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to CBS television on Sunday of information that China was “considering providing lethal support” to Russia. When asked what he meant by that, Blinken replied, “Weapons, primarily weapons.”
No evidence was provided of China’s intent to provide lethal support to Russia.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday he contacted the Chinese leadership and “asked them not to provide any support to Russia” in its war against Ukraine.
“My hope is that the government in Beijing will maintain a pragmatic attitude, otherwise we risk World War III – we are all aware of that,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with Italian daily la Repubblica.
It appears President Zelenskyy has already decided on the outcome of this conflict. In fact, he has been railing against any attempts at diplomacy, most recently criticizing French President Emmanuel Macron for speaking with Russia.
Zelenskyy stated that any talks with Russia would result in “unsuccessful dialogue. In fact, Macron is wasting his time. I have come to the conclusion that we are not able to change the Russian attitude.”
Diplomacy is clearly not an option for Zelensky, who has thus far accepted over 150 billion USD in aid from around the world. (See Kiel Institute tracker)
In response to U.S.-launched rumors that China was looking to provide military support to Russia, head of Chinese diplomacy, Wang Yi, criticized the accusations.
“China stands by its principles” and “is committed to promoting peace talks and playing a constructive role,” Wang said, referring to the words of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, warning that Beijing could send military aid to Moscow.
Berlin has taken note of US statements, but has no evidence that China is planning to send lethal arms to Russia for its war on Ukraine, a government spokesman said on Monday. “Such information is not available to us,” Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin.
“Nevertheless, we have, of course, taken note of (US Secretary of State) Antony Blinken’s statements on this issue, also with a certain degree of concern if it turns out to be true, but we have no evidence of that at the moment.”
He referred to a meeting between Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Wang Yi, Beijing’s top foreign policy official, at the Munich Security Conference, where the German leader welcomed the fact that China has so far refrained from supplying any lethal weapons to Russia.
Separately on Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels that any likely Chinese military support for Russia would be a “a red line in our relationships.”
Borrell said he discussed the issue with Wang in Munich over the weekend, who reassured him that Beijing had no such plans.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday urged the US to “stop deflecting the blame and spreading disinformation.”
“We urge the US side to seriously reflect on the role it has played, do something to actually help de-escalate the situation and promote peace talks,” Wang Wenbin, a ministry spokesperson, said at a briefing.
“It is the US, not China, that has been pouring weapons into the battlefield. The US is in no position to tell China what to do. We would never stand for finger-pointing, or even coercion and pressurizing from the US on our relations with Russia.”
On the Ukraine issue, China’s position boils down to supporting talks for peace. The international community is fully aware who is calling for dialogue and striving for peace, and who is fanning the flames and stoking confrontation, he said.
Sources. Anadolu Agency, GlobalTimes, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China
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