RUSSIA reportedly asked China for HELP after it invaded Ukraine last month – prompting fears for World War Three to mount.
Vladimir Putin‘s side is believed to have asked Chinese president Xi Jinping for both military equipment and support after its February 24 invasion.
Vladimir Putin pictured with Chinese president Xi JinpingCredit: AP
Several U.S. officials have since said Beijing could undermine Western efforts to help Ukraine, the New York Times reports.
And U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who is due to meet with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi on Monday, said Washington believed China knew Russia was planning to invade Ukraine before it did.
He also warned Beijing would “absolutely” face consequences if it offered Russia support.
Mr Sullivan told CNN: “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.
“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.”
Nato has so far stayed out of the conflict over fears it could risk a major escalation into a global battle after Joe Biden warned of “World War Three” – adding that a direct conflict between Russia and Nato would be catastrophic.
But senior Moscow diplomat Sergei Ryabkovhas already warned Russia could target Western shipments of military equipment to Ukraine.
And the US has threatened Russia with Nato’s “full force” if attacks on Ukraine stray beyond the country’s border, The Telegraph reports.
Mr Sullivan said: “If there is a military attack on Nato territory, it would… bring the full force of the Nato alliance to bear in responding to it.”
It comes as…
Earlier today, a Russian airstrike killed at least 35 people just 12 miles from the Polish border – blasting a base where foreign instructors were helping Ukrainians.
Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, labelled the targeting of the base in Yavoriv, called the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security, a “significant” development in the war.
He went on to warn Putin was “pushing the boundaries” and accused the warmongering leader of having “no moral limits”.
It comes after American journalist Brent Renaud was reportedly shot dead while fleeing from Russian soldiers who opened fire at him after he stumbled upon their checkpoint in Ukraine.
Mr Sullivan told CBS News his government was trying to establish exactly how the journalist died before he would “execute appropriate consequences”.
He said the “brazen aggression” shown by Russians was illustrated by troops targeting civilians, hospitals, places of worship “and they have targeted journalists.”
Meanwhile, Wang Huiyao, head of a Beijing think tank and adviser to the Chinese government, warned of “an escalatory spiral”.
Writing in the New York Times on Sunday, Huiyao said China was “uniquely positioned to act as a neutral mediator between a Western-supported Ukraine and Russia” to end the war.
They added: “Unpalatable as some in the West may find the idea, it is time to offer the Russian leader an off-ramp with China’s help.”
China has so far insisted it aims to promote a peaceful settlement to the war.
Asked about Russia’s request for military aid, Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for China’s embassy in Washington, said: “I’ve never heard of that.
“We support and encourage all efforts that are conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis.”
Barracks in Yavoriv burn after being hit by a Russian missile strike in the early hours of Sunday morning
Ukrainian servicemen evacuate an elderly woman on a stretcher from the city of IrpinCredit: AFP
A Ukrainian woman reacts in front of a house damaged in an aerial bombing in the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 13Credit: AFP
American filmmaker and journalist Brent Renaud was fatally shot when Russian troops opened fire on a car near the Romanivsky Bridge in Irpin, UkraineCredit: Rex
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