Russian officials have reportedly contacted Chinese counterparts about obtaining military equipment from the country amid Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
US officials told The Washington Post and The New York Times of the potential arms deal but did not disclose any details on what type of weaponry had been requested by Russia.
The Times reported that Moscow also requested additional economic support from Beijing, which has become a key ally as much of the world seeks to isolate Russia.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington said they had “never heard of” the request for help from Moscow, per Reuters.
National security adviser Jake SullivanJake Sullivan Sunday shows preview: Russian invasion in Ukraine extends into third week Family of Marine detained in Russia says Biden declined meeting in Texas The Memo: Biden locks into battle with enigmatic Putin MOREwho is planning to meet Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi this week, warned China on Sunday against providing any material support to Russia to help it cope with global sanctions.
“We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them,” Sullivan told CNN.
“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,” he added.
In a televised interview on Sunday, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov shared that part of Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves are in Chinese currency, according to the Post.
“We see what pressure is being exerted by Western countries on China in order to limit mutual trade,” Siluanov said during his interview.
“But I think that our partnership with China will still allow us to maintain the cooperation that we have achieved and not only maintain but also increase it in an environment where Western markets are closing,” he added.
Since starting its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been hit with escalating sanctions from Western powers, with the US and the UK recently saying they will phase out Russian oil, natural gas and coal imports.
Some officials have said that Russia is running low on some types of ammunition amid the ongoing crisis, the Post noted.
“If Beijing is offering any type of military assistance to aid Moscow’s war in Ukraine, the spillover effects on US-China policy could be vast,” former US Indo-Pacific Command adviser Eric Sayers told the Post.
Update: 6:08 pm