The US has told China it will face harsh “consequences” if it aids Russia in its ongoing invasion on Ukraine, according to US media reports.
Unnamed officials reportedly told multiple US news outlets that Russia has asked China to provide military assistance after it began the invasion on Thursday, February 24, 2022.
But the Chinese Embassy in Washington has pointed out that it is not aware of this request. The warning came ahead of a meeting in Rome on Monday, March 14, 2022, between top US and China officials.
Since the commencement of the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, the alleged reports suggest that Beijing expressed strong rhetorical support for long-time ally Moscow, but is not publicly known to have provided any military or economic support.
However, local media outlets citing US officials have revealed that Russia has in recent days asked China specifically for military equipment, including drones. But by far, China’s response to Russia’s request remains unknown.
In an interview, US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, said they were “communicating directly, privately to Beijing that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them”.
“We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world.”US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan
Mr. Sullivan also added that while the US believes China is aware that Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, was “planning something” before the invasion happened, Beijing “may not have understood the full extent of it”.
“Because it’s very possible that [Mr] Putin lied to them the same way that he lied to Europeans and others,” Mr. Sullivan said.
Mr. Sullivan is due to meet Yang Jiechi, who is a member of China’s top decision-making body, the Politburo, and the head of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, on Monday, March 14, 2022, in Rome.
According to a news agency, quoting a US official as saying that during the meeting Mr. Sullivan will spell out the consequences and isolation China would face if it increased support for Russia.
China so far has refrained from condemning Russia for the invasion but has advised that Moscow’s “legitimate security concerns” should be taken seriously.
Chinese state media and government officials, aside from echoing Russia’s official line that it is a “special military operation” and not an invasion, are also repeating Russian disinformation claims about the Ukraine-Russia war in recent days.
But Beijing at the same time has expressed “unwavering support” for Ukraine’s sovereignty. It has also called for peace and announced that it is ready to help end the war through diplomacy. Several countries have urged China to do more to stop Russia’s invasion.
Reports by authorities in Ukraine have announced that as of March 13, 2022, about 100 aerial bombs have been dropped on Mariupol as Russian forces blockade the city.
The city council of besieged Mariupol also revealed that about 2,187 residents have been killed since the start of Russia’s invasion.
Despite the war raging on, leaders of both countries (Ukraine and Russia), have predicted that talks might yield positive results within days.