Chinese Embassy responds to claims Moscow asked for military assistance
The Chinese Embassy in the US says it has no information about Russia’s alleged request to China for military assistance, noting that Beijing’s focus is on bringing tensions down in Ukraine.
Citing unnamed US officials, the Financial Times reported on Sunday that Moscow asked China “for equipment and other kinds of unspecified military assistance” to support its offensive in Ukraine. The report added that the White House was concerned “Beijing may undermine western efforts to help Ukrainian forces defend their country” if it chooses to grant the alleged request.
The allegations were also picked up by the New York Times, CNN, and other Western publications. CNN reported, for instance, that Russia had requested “drones” from China, while the NYT said that its sources declined to discuss the “kind of military weapons or aid” Moscow was allegedly seeking, citing the need to keep the process of intelligence-gathering secret.
Upon being asked about the reports, Chinese Embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu told Reuters later on Sunday that he “had never heard of that [request],” and said China’s priority was “to prevent the tense situation from escalating or even getting out of control.”
Beijing has adopted a neutral stance in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine – calling for an end to the war, but refusing to join the West in condemning Moscow.
Shortly after Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing opposed “the use of sanctions to solve problems, and even more so opposes unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law.”