The United States has determined that some Chinese companies are providing non-lethal assistance to Russia for use in the Ukraine war and officials are noting their concern to the Chinese government, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday (24 January.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “What we’re seeing is non-lethal military assistance and economic support that stops short of wholesale sanctions evasion.”
The source did not elaborate, and the account could not be independently verified.
The United States has warned the Chinese government of consequences should China provide weaponry to Russia for use against Ukraine.
Beijing has condemned the Western sanctions on Russia. It said “sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions would only make the people suffer” and should not be “further escalated.” Washington is concerned that China could help Russia “backfill” and access these products by violating trade restrictions.
US officials view the current activity as concerning and believe it is “a significantly scaled-down version of the PRC’s (Peoples Republic of China) initial plan, which was to sell lethal weapons systems for use on the battlefield,” the source said.
It is unclear if the Chinese government is aware of the activity, the source said.
US officials are reaching out to Chinese authorities through diplomatic channels, the source said.
“We will continue to communicate to China the implications of providing material support to Russia’s war against Ukraine,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Washington has been very clear with China about the implications of providing material to support Russia’s war in Ukraine, though he declined to confirm Tuesday’s reports.
“But we would be concerned if we were to see not only the PRC itself engaging in this but Chinese companies, PRC companies, doing this,” Price told reporters.
Price added that he suspects it is something that will be discussed in coming days when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has an opportunity to travel to Beijing.
After Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, China publicly stressed that it is not in any way a party to the conflict and in September, after the Russian army had faced several setbacks on the battlefield, Putin publicly acknowledged that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had “questions and concerns” about the war.
(Edited by Georgi Gotev)
Source: Eura Ctiv