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US officials say Russia asked China for military and economic support for war in Ukraine, reports say

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in Beijing, China on February 4, 2022.

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  • Senior US officials told multiple outlets that Russia has asked China for military assistance in Ukraine.
  • National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN Sunday the administration is concerned about this.
  • Sullivan said China has been warned that the US won’t stand by and allow any country to help Russia.

US officials have said Russia asked China for military assistance and economic aid to help with their invasion of Ukraine and counteract sanctions, The New York Times first reported on Sunday.

The Washington Post, CNN, and Fox News also reported the news, citing unnamed US officials. The Times and The Post reported that the US officials declined to release any additional information on the types of weapons Russia requested.

The Chinese Embassy did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment but spokesperson Liu Pengyu told CNN that he’s “never heard” that Russia requested help from China. 

“China is deeply concerned and grieved on the Ukraine situation. We sincerely hope that the situation will ease and peace will return at an early date,” Pengyu told CNN.

Russia was hit with crippling sanctions from the West after it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The US, UK, and European Union were among those to impose sanctions on the country as well as Russian officials, businesses, and President Vladimir Putin.

Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping met as recently as February 4, after which they released a statement criticizing the US and declaring that the friendship between Russia and China has “no limits.” But Xi has stopped short of fully siding with Putin on the war in Ukraine, Insider’s Mattathias Schwartz reported.

Ukrainian forces have been able to hold off the invasion in much of the country but military assistance from China could be a major boon to Russian forces. Meanwhile Ukraine has recieved military support and weapons from western allies.

The White House on Saturday approved $200 million in weapons to be delivered to Ukraine, following the US Senate last week approving $13.6 billion in emergency humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday that the administration is concerned about the possibility of China providing help to Russia. He also said there’s reason to believe China might have known Russia was planning something before the invasion. 

“We also are watching closely to see the extent to which China actually does provide any form of support, material support or economic support, to Russia. It is a concern of ours. And we have communicated to Beijing that we will not stand by and allow any country to compensate Russia for its losses from the economic sanctions,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the administration has told China that there would “absolutely be consequences” if there are efforts to help Russia circumvent the impact of US sanctions. He did not say whether or not the US would impose sanctions on China if it helped Russia. 

The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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