German tabloid ‘took the lead in terms of fake news’ – Moscow
Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry’s spokeswoman, has taken a swipe at German tabloid Bild, claiming that the paper “has now taken the lead in terms of fake news.” The official cited a Thursday article on Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov’s alleged flight to China, which was supposedly aborted midair at President Vladimir Putin’s request. According to Zakharova, Lavrov did not travel overseas on Wednesday, as the article claimed, and spent the whole time working in Moscow. In her Telegram channel, Zakharova jokingly wondered if Bild would give a “bonus to the German journalist who invented this.”
Bild’s article claimed that Russia’s foreign minister “wanted to fly to the big ally in Beijing.” However, according to the text, “midway through the flight his plane turned back over Novosibirsk, halfway to the destination.” The U-turn in midair has left the world puzzled, Bild claimed, with speculations ranging from China refusing to receive the Russian visitor, all the way to Putin summoning Lavrov back “because the house is on fire in Moscow.”
The German tabloid proceeded to cite claims made last week by several US media outlets that Russia had asked China for military aid to help carry out its offensive against Ukraine. However, China has vehemently rebutted these reports, with China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accusing the US of “spreading false information against China on the Ukraine issue recently, with sinister intentions.”
Unlike the US and most of its allies around the world, China has striven to maintain neutrality on the issue, and refused to impose sanctions on Russia. Moreover, Beijing has criticized Washington’s approach, with China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, arguing on Thursday that such punitive measures “fail to resolve security issues,” while at the same time harming “the lives of ordinary people” as well as “global markets.” Additionally, the official said that China strongly opposed “any form of unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law.”
On Sunday, Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, threatened China, saying it would “absolutely” face consequences should it try to help Moscow evade Western sanctions over its military offensive in Ukraine.