Pentagon: China will face ‘consequences’ if it provides lethal aid to Russia

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
File – The Pentagon is seen in this aerial view made through an airplane window in Washington on Jan. 26, 2020.

The Defense Department on Wednesday warned China against providing lethal aid to Russia, echoing similar cautionary statements from Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other U.S. officials as concerns mount that Beijing will support Moscow’s war in Ukraine with weapons and munitions.

Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters at a press briefing that China will face consequences if it provides lethal assistance.

“There will certainly be consequences for China should they deepen their relationship with Russia,” Singh said. “We haven’t seen them give lethal aid to Russia at this time for the war, but they also haven’t taken that off the table.”

Singh declined to comment on what those consequences would look like.

Over the weekend, Blinken said China has provided nonlethal aid to Russia and was considering the option of sending lethal aid, adding that he warned his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Germany against the move.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Sunday also said the U.S. has warned China of consequences if the nation supplies any lethal assistance to Russia.

On Monday, Beijing hit back against accusations it was considering sending lethal aid to Russia, accusing the U.S. instead of escalating the war in Ukraine.

“It is the U.S., not China, that has been pouring weapons into the battlefield,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, at a press briefing. “The U.S. is in no position to tell China what to do.”

China is one of the few nations that has not condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine, and trade between Beijing and Moscow soared to record levels in 2022.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who have long had close ties, announced a “no limits” partnership shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year.

China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, traveled to Russia and met with Putin this week. And Xi is planning a visit to Moscow in the coming months, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Russia, China and South Africa are also holding joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean starting on Friday.

Russia has secured lethal assistance from allies during the war, including explosive drones from Iran.

North Korea has also reportedly provided Russian mercenary company Wagner Group with missiles and artillery shells.

Tags Antony Blinken China Defense Department Russia Sabrina Singh Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Wang Yi

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