Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, the US said that China will face harsh “consequences” if it aids Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, BBC reported.
The report quoting the multiple US news outlets said that Russia asked China to provide military assistance after it began the invasion. The Chinese embassy in Washington said it was not aware of this request, the report said.
The warning comes ahead of a meeting in Rome on Monday between top US and China officials.
Since the start of the crisis, Beijing has 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, say that Russia has in recent days asked China specifically for military equipment, including drones. China’s response to that request is not known.
In a CNN 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,” Sullivan was quoted as saying during the interview.
He added that while the US believed China was aware that 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 Putin lied to them the same way that he lied to Europeans and others,” the US National Security Adviser was quoted further saying.
Earlier, international media reported that Moscow has asked China for military equipment to use in its invasion of Ukraine, a request that heightened tensions ahead of a Monday meeting in Rome between top aides for the US and Chinese governments.
The prospect of China offering Russia financial help is one of several concerns for President Joe Biden, according to Associated Press.
Quoting an unmanned US official, the report said that in recent days, Russia had requested support from China, including military equipment, to press forward in its ongoing war with Ukraine.
The official did not provide details on the scope of the request, the report said. The request was first reported by the Financial Times and The Washington Post.
The Biden administration is also accusing China of spreading Russian disinformation that could be a pretext for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces to attack Ukraine with chemical or biological weapons.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put China in a delicate spot with two of its biggest trading partners: the US and European Union.
In brief comments on the talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian did not mention Ukraine, saying that the “key issue of this meeting is to implement the important consensus reached by the Chinese and US heads of state in their virtual summit in November last year.”
“They will exchange views on China-US relations and international and regional issues of common concern,” Zhao said in comments posted on the ministry’s website late Sunday.
The White House said the talks will focus on the direct impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on regional and global security.
Quoting officials from Biden administration, the report said Beijing is spreading false Russian claims that Ukraine was running chemical and biological weapons labs with US support. They say China is effectively providing cover if Russia moves ahead with a biological or chemical weapons attack on Ukrainians.