23 May 2024, 09:57

UK defence minister says China sending 'lethal aid' to Russia for Ukraine war

LONDON, May 23, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - China is sending "lethal aid" to Russia
for use in its war against Ukraine, Britain's defence minister Grant Shapps
said on Wednesday.

"Today I can reveal that we have evidence that Russia and China are
collaborating on combat equipment for use in Ukraine," he said in a speech at
a London conference.

Shapps warned that NATO needed to "wake up" and bolster defence spending
across the alliance.

"US and British defence intelligence can reveal that lethal aid is now
flowing from China to Russia and into Ukraine."

He argued that democratic states should make a "full-throated case" for
freedoms that are dependent on the international order, meaning "we need more
allies and partners" worldwide.

"It's time for the world to wake up. And that means translating this moment
to concrete plans and capabilities. And that starts with laying the
foundations for an alliance-wide increase in spending on our collective
deterrent," he said.

China and Russia's strategic partnership has only grown closer since the
invasion of Ukraine, but Beijing has rebuffed Western claims that it is
aiding Moscow's war effort.

China has also offered a critical lifeline to Russia's isolated economy, with
trade booming since the invasion and hitting $240 billion in 2023, according
to Chinese customs figures.

US President Joe Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan, however,
appeared to take issue with some of Shapps's comments.

He said the possibility that China might "provide weapons directly -- lethal
assistance -- to Russia" had been a concern earlier, but that "we have not
seen that to date".

The United States did though have a "concern about what China's doing to fuel
Russia's war machine, not giving weapons directly, but providing inputs to
Russia's defence industrial base", he added.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin put on a
strong show of unity during a meeting in Beijing earlier this month.

Xi said in a statement following talks with Putin during his visit that the
two sides agreed on the need for a "political solution" to resolve the war.

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