As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, Moscow has asked China for military equipment to use in its invasion of Ukraine, a request that heightened tensions ahead of a meeting in Rome between top aides for the US and Chinese governments, international media reported.
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 the 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.