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13 Apr, 2023 20:54

Pentagon leaks accuse China of arming Russia – WaPo

The outlet claims US spies had intercepted a Russian report about Beijing sending arms to Moscow
Pentagon leaks accuse China of arming Russia – WaPo

The Washington Post claimed on Thursday that China had approved the supply of “lethal aid” to Russia, citing an alleged intercept of Russian communications mentioned in a classified Pentagon document. The document itself was allegedly found on a gaming forum and has not been previously mentioned in media reports.

According to the Post, a February 23 summary from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) included a part about the US spies intercepting communications from the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). One such intercept reportedly said that China was willing to supply Russia with weapons and ammunition for use in Ukraine, but wanted to disguise them as civilian items.

The outlet says it obtained the document from a group called “Thug Shaker Central” on the messaging application Discord. The Post had pointed the finger at the group as the source of classified files that have leaked to the general public over the past several weeks. 

The US government has not officially confirmed the authenticity of any of the documents, but demanded the media not cover their content and launched an internal hunt for the leaker. A member of the US Air National Guard, named by the New York Times earlier on Thursday, has been arrested for taking the documents from the classified setting. 

While the ODNI declined to comment on the Post story, two anonymous government officials said the US had “not seen evidence that China has transferred weapons or provided lethal assistance to Russia.”

Washington has repeatedly accused Beijing of planning to supply Moscow with weapons or ammunition. China has responded by accusing the US of hypocrisy, as the West was “endlessly shipping weapons to the battlefield” in Ukraine, in the words of Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the US and its allies supplied $100 billion worth of weapons, ammunition and equipment to Kiev in 2022 alone.

While vowing not to cover the documents in the name of “national security,” US media outlets have nonetheless amplified some of the claims allegedly contained in them – without providing photos of the source.

One such report accused Serbia of sending weapons to Ukraine, which Belgrade denied as fake news. Moscow and Cairo also denied the allegation that Egypt was selling ammunition to Russia. Israel indignantly rejected accusations that its security service Mossad was working against PM Benjamin Netanyahu, while South Korea denounced the “fabricated” report of concerns about its weapons being used in Ukraine.