On Sunday, 19 February, Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of State, confirmed media reports about China discussing the possibility of providing Russia with lethal military aid that could be directed to support aggression against Ukraine.
He said this in an interview with NBC, reports European Pravda.
The head of American diplomacy reiterated that China has supported Russia for a long time — not only politically and economically, but also by providing non-lethal equipment.
"And we are extremely concerned that China is considering the possibility of providing lethal support to Russia in its aggression against Ukraine. And I clearly stated that this will lead to serious consequences, particularly in our relations. President Biden also spoke about this during his several meetings with Xi Jinping," Blinken emphasised.
He also criticised Beijing's stance on a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying China is "trying to sit on two chairs."
"Publicly, they [China – ed.] present themselves as a country that seeks peace in Ukraine. But privately, as I have already said, in recent months there has been a supply of non-lethal aid that directly contributes to Russia's military efforts. There is also information that will soon be made public, according to which China is seriously considering the supply of lethal aid to the Russian Federation," the US Secretary of State added.
At the same time, Blinken refused to specify what kind of aid is in question and added that "there are various types of lethal aid that they are at the very least considering to transfer, including weapons."
It was previously reported that the Biden administration had expressed concern to Beijing over evidence it had that Chinese companies were selling non-lethal equipment to Russia for use in Ukraine, including bulletproof vests and helmets.
Previously, cooperation between Moscow and Beijing strengthened after Russia decided to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
China refused to criticise Moscow's actions, instead accusing the US and NATO of provoking the Kremlin, and criticised sanctions against Russia. Russia, in turn, strongly supported China against the background of Taiwan-related tension in relations with the United States.