The United States on Monday warned China against providing support to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine saying there will be “consequences” if Beijing provides Moscow with any sort of help.
The warning was delivered by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to the director of China’s Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission Yang Jiechi during a meeting in Rome.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price also described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “Putin’s war of choice”. Said Price:
We are watching very closely the extent to which the PRC [the People’s Republic of China] or any country in the world provides support – material, economic, financial, rhetorical, otherwise – to this war of choice that President [Vladimir] Putin is waging.
And we have been very clear – both privately with Beijing, publicly with Beijing – that there would be consequences for any such support.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February following several months of a troop build-up near the Ukrainian border.
Russia demanded an end to NATO expansion into former Soviet republics and accused Ukraine of committing genocide in its Donbas region where a sizeable number of Russian-speaking Ukrainians live.
The war has pushed more than 2.8 million people to flee Ukraine, according to the United Nations.
The invasion prompted a swift sanctions campaign by the US and its allies against Russia.
A day before the meeting between Sullivan and Yang, several US media outlets reported that Moscow was seeking military assistance from Beijing.
In a statement on Sunday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian appeared to dismiss those reports without mentioning them specifically. He said:
The US has been spreading disinformation targeting China on the Ukraine issue, with malicious intentions.