US President Joe Biden's National Security Adviser warned a top Chinese official on Monday (local time) about Beijing's support for Russia's military operations in Ukraine, even as the Kremlin denied reports stating that it had requested Chinese military equipment to use in the war.
US adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi met in Rome earlier today. Sullivan held an "intense" seven-hour meeting with his Chinese counterpart and laid out potential consequences of Beijing assisting Russia in the war in Ukraine.
"The national security adviser and our delegation raised directly and very clear our concerns about the PRC's support to Russia in the wake of the invasion, and the implications that any such support would have for the PRC's relationship not only with us but for its relationships around the world," said State Department spokesman Ned Price, using the initials for the People's Republic of China.
"We are watching very closely the extent to which China or any other country provides any form of support, whether that's material, economic or financial support to Russia, any such support from anywhere in the world would be of great concern to us," added the spokesperson.
In advance of the talks, Sullivan bluntly warned China to avoid helping Russia evade punishment from global sanctions that have hammered the Russian economy. "We will not allow that to go forward," Price said.
Russia, however, on Monday (local time) denied it needed China's help. President Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said reports Russia had asked China for military assistance were not true.
"Russia possesses its own independent potential to continue the operation. As we said, it is going according to plan and will be completed on time and in full," he said.
Russia has asked China for military support and China had signaled willingness to provide military assistance to Russia., including drones, as well as economic assistance for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, according to US officials.
Potential assistance from the Chinese would be a significant development in Russia's invasion. It could upend the hold Ukrainian forces still have in the country as well as provide a counterweight to the harsh sanctions imposed on Russia's economy.
The Chinese foreign ministry accused the US of spreading disinformation. Russia denied asking Beijing for military help. In response, a spokesman for the foreign ministry in Beijing, Zhao Lijian, said the US had "been spreading disinformation targeting China on the Ukraine issue, with malicious intentions".
Russia expanded its offensive to western Ukraine on Sunday, firing missiles near the city of Lviv and hitting a large military base close to the Polish border, reportedly killing dozens of people and drawing the war closer to the borders of a NATO country.
The attack came the day after the Kremlin threatened to attack Western weapons shipments to Ukraine. (ANI)