Report: China seriously weighing sending lethal weaponry to Russia

by WorldTribune Staff, February 23, 2023

Communist China is considering supplying lethal arms to Vladimir Putin’s war machine, Team Biden said, citing new information from intelligence agencies.

Sending the weapons to Russia amid its ongoing conflict with Ukraine would represent a marked departure from the more general dual-use goods that Chinese companies have been providing Russia over the past year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing U.S. and European officials.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin with Chinese leader Xi Jinping / Kremlin Press Office

NATO allies have engaged in a number of closed-door appeals to China not to arm Russia. The appeals culminated in a formal warning delivered over the weekend in Munich to Wang Yi, China’s senior foreign-policy official, by a number of Western officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

Blinken said in an interview with CBS News that China is seriously exploring supplying arms to Russia.

“The Blinken-Wang meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference ended with no sign of common ground on key issues, according to descriptions from people familiar with the sit-down,” the Journal reported.

One of those sources described it as “tense.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday said that the U.S. would continue to warn Chinese government officials, companies, and banks about the potential consequences of helping Russia evade U.S. sanctions.

“With respect to sanctions and aid to Russia, we have made clear that providing material support to Russia or assistance with any type of systemic sanctions evasion would be a very serious concern to us,” Yellen said during a press conference in Bengaluru, India.

The communist regime in Beijing had exercised cautious in its support for Russia with a focus on financial assistance and oil purchases, but that stance now appears to be shifting, according to the latest intelligence assessments.

“Until now,” the Journal cited a senior Western official as saying, there “has been a certain amount of ambiguity about what practical help China might give Russia.” The official said that the intelligence the U.S. and its allies have now is “much less ambiguous.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin didn’t respond directly when asked on Wednesday whether China would supply lethal support for Russia’s war effort. “It is a known fact that NATO countries including the U.S. are the biggest source of weaponry for the battlefield in Ukraine, yet they keep claiming that China may be supplying weapons to Russia,” said Wang.

U.S. and European officials said Beijing wouldn’t necessarily provide Russia advanced weapons, but would likely backfill what Putin’s forces have lost on the battlefield in Ukraine, such as ammunition, or have been unable to produce because of sanctions, such as electronics.

“It’s not an issue of technology,” said Vasily Kashin, a China specialist and the director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. “It’s primarily an issue of production capacity. And in terms of production capacity, China, in many aspects, especially if we talk about ground-forces weapons, might be stronger than Russia and the whole of NATO combined.”

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