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US Warns China Will Face ‘Real Costs’ for Lethal Aid to Russia

US repeats its warning, amid reports China is considering sending artillery and ammunition to Russia, and that Xi will visit Moscow next week; five Chinese and 80 Russian firms added to blacklist

The US has repeated its warning to China, saying there would be 'real costs' if it provides lethal aid to Russia.
Blinken speaks at the UN Security Council on Friday, voicing scepticism on China's peace plan on Ukraine. Reuters photo.


China has not moved to provide lethal aid that would help Russia in its invasion of Ukraine – but if it does it will face “real costs”, a senior US official warned on Sunday.

The US warning has been repeated by Washington amid intelligence that China is considering sending artillery and ammunition to Russia, according to an NBC News report, which cited three US officials.

They said the information was originally reported by The Wall Street Journal, as noted by Asia Financial four days ago. The warning appears to have been renewed and stressed because of reports that Xi will visit Moscow next week.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said there would be serious consequences if Beijing arms Russian troops.

“Beijing will have to make its own decisions about how it proceeds, whether it provides military assistance – but if it goes down that road it will come at real costs to China,” Sullivan told CNN’s “State of the Union” programme.

In a separate interview on ABC TV, Sullivan noted that while China had not moved forward in providing military aid, it had not taken that option off the table.

US officials have warned their Chinese counterparts privately about what those costs might be, Sullivan said, but he would not elaborate on those discussions.


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US blacklists 5 Chinese and 80 Russian firms

The United States and its NATO allies in recent days have been scrambling to dissuade China from such a move, making public comments on their belief that China is considering providing lethal equipment to Russia.

However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that China has been providing non-lethal assistance to Russia through its companies.

Dozens of Russian and Chinese companies were blacklisted last Friday by the US last Friday.

The US Commerce Department added five Chinese firms to its entity list – AOOK Technology, Beijing Ti-Tech Science and Technology Development, Beijing Yunze Technology, China HEAD Aerospace Technology Co; and Spacety Co.

The list also added two subsidiaries of China HEAD Aerospace Technology in France and the Netherlands, and an affiliate of Spacety in Luxembourg.

The department said: “These companies significantly contribute to Russia’s military and/or defence industrial base and are involved in activities contrary to US national security and foreign policy interests”.

It also sanctioned nearly 80 Russian companies involved in the country’s “defence-industrial sector and war effort.”


CIA director weighs in

US President Joe Biden visited Kyiv and met with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy last Monday, promising new American military aid for Ukraine worth $500 million. Friday marked the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion. The US has been by far the largest supplier of military assistance to help Ukraine repel better-equipped Russian forces. Ukraine expects a major new Russian offensive soon.

CIA director William Burns also weighed in regarding China in an interview aired on Sunday.

“We’re confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment. We also don’t see that a final decision has been made yet, and we don’t see evidence of actual shipments of lethal equipment,” Burns told CBS’s “Face the Nation” programme.

Republican Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, cited reports that drones are among the lethal weapons China has considered sending to Russia.


‘Xi to visit Moscow next week’

McCaul said Chinese leader Xi Jinping is preparing to visit Moscow next week for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin has alluded to a Xi visit but the timing has not been confirmed by Russia or China.

Russia and China signed a “no limits” partnership in February 2022 shortly before Russian forces invaded Ukraine. Economic links between Russia and China have deepened while Moscow’s connections with the West have shriveled.

Biden said on Friday the United States would respond if China were to supply Russia with lethal weapons to use in Ukraine, but added in an interview with ABC News, “I don’t anticipate a major initiative on the part of China providing weaponry to Russia.”

The West has been wary of China’s response to the invasion, with some officials warning that a Russian victory would colour China’s actions toward Taiwan. Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring the self-ruled island that it considers a wayward province under its rule. China has not condemned the conflict in Ukraine or called it an “invasion.”

“The fact that they’re going to meet next week, Chairman Xi and Putin, to discuss this unholy alliance that they have, to put weapons into Ukraine, to me is very disturbing because while maybe Ukraine today, it’s going to be Taiwan tomorrow,” McCaul said. “That’s why this is so important.”


Scepticism over peace proposal

The West reacted with scepticism to China’s proposal on Friday for a Ukraine ceasefire, with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg saying Beijing did not have much credibility as a mediator because of its failure to condemn the invasion. Ukraine rejected the proposal unless it involves Russia withdrawing its troops.

“Any proposal that can advance peace is something that’s worth looking at. We’re taking a look at it,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told US network ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“But you know there are 12 points in the Chinese plan. If they were serious about the first one, sovereignty, then this war could end tomorrow,” he said.

“China has been trying to have it both ways: It’s on the one hand trying to present itself publicly as neutral and seeking peace, while at the same time it is talking up Russia’s false narrative about the war.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said China had not shared a peace plan but some principles.

“We will look at the principles, of course, but we will look at them against the backdrop that China has taken sides,” she said.

Beijing urged a gradual de-escalation, warned against use of nuclear weapons and said conflict benefited no one.

It was largely a reiteration of Beijing’s line throughout the war, in which it has refrained from condemning Russia or referring to Moscow’s intervention as an “invasion” while criticizing Western sanctions. Russia has called the war a “special military operation.”


  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard




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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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