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22 May, 2024 14:22

UK accuses China of providing ‘lethal aid’ to Russia

Beijing has dismissed similar claims from Washington as “groundless” and “unacceptable”
UK accuses China of providing ‘lethal aid’ to Russia

British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has accused China of preparing or providing military aid to Russia for use in Ukraine. Beijing has repeatedly denied playing any part in the Ukraine conflict.

“Today I can reveal that we have evidence that Russia and China are collaborating on combat equipment for use in Ukraine,” Shapps told a conference in London on Wednesday.

“Lethal aid is now, or will be, flowing from China to Russia and into Ukraine, [and] I think it is a significant development,” Shapps added. 

The defense chief did not elaborate further, or provide evidence to back up his claim.

The US has already sanctioned more than 100 Chinese companies for allegedly supplying Russia with ‘dual use’ goods and components, a term referring to items such as navigation devices and machine tools with both civilian and military applications. Speaking at a press conference in Beijing last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken threatened “additional measures” if the alleged transfer of these components continues.

Beijing has pushed back against what it calls “groundless” claims by Washington. “China is not the creator, or a party to the Ukraine crisis,” China’s deputy envoy to the UN, Geng Shuang, told the UN Security Council on Monday. “Nor have we provided lethal weapons to any party in the conflict. We have not done… what the US has done, which is to deliberately prolong the fighting and profit from the crisis. We will not do that.”

Beijing has maintained a policy of neutrality on the Ukraine conflict, and consistently called on Moscow and Kiev to settle their differences diplomatically.

During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that he supports a solution via an “international peace conference recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation by all parties, and fair discussion of all options.”

“The fundamental solution to the Ukraine crisis is to promote the construction of a balanced, effective, and sustainable new security architecture,” he added.

China and Russia have deepened their economic and diplomatic ties since the conflict began in 2022, with trade between the two nations reaching a record $240 billion last year, up more than 64% since 2021. “Russian-Chinese relations are not ad hoc contacts and are not aimed against anyone,” Putin said during the meeting with Xi, adding that “our cooperation in world affairs is one of the main stabilizing factors on the international stage.”