Britain Accuses China Of Working To Provide Russia With ‘Lethal Aid’

Britain has accused China of preparing to or already providing ‘lethal aid’ to Russia for its ongoing full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Citing U.S. and British defense intelligence, Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said there was evidence that “lethal aid is now, or will be, flowing from China to Russia and into Ukraine.”

“Today I can reveal that we have evidence that Russia and China are collaborating on combat equipment for use in Ukraine,” Shapps told a defense conference in London on May 22.

The British defense minister did not provide details or evidence to back up his claim, but his assertion, the first such accusation from a Western official, would indicate a new level of support for Moscow from Beijing and that China had pivoted to directly supporting Russia’s military.

“We should be concerned about that because in the earlier days of this war, China would like to present itself as a moderating influence on” Russian President Vladimir Putin, Schnapps said, adding that trade data since the Kremlin’s February 2022 full-scale invasion of invasion shows that Beijing and Moscow “are covering each other’s backs.”

China has emerged as the Kremlin’s leading international supporter as a vital consumer for oil and gas that has helped boost the Russian economy and by supplying Russia with key militarily useful, but nonlethal, dual-use components for the production and repair of weapons.

In April, senior U.S. officials said that Beijing was providing Moscow with drone and missile technology, satellite imagery, and machine tools.

Analyses of Chinese customs data show that in 2023 some 90 percent of “high priority” dual-use goods used in Russian weapons production was imported from China.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a late April visit to China that there was no evidence that Beijing was sending weapons to Russia to use in Ukraine.

“What China is doing, or what some of its enterprises are doing, is to provide critical components for Russia’s defense industrial base, things like machine tools, microelectronics, and optics,” Blinken said during his trip to the Chinese capital.

However, Shapps’ accusation would mean that China is no longer shying away from directly helping Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, where fighting is in its third year.

Putin visited China in May for a state visit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping where the pair touted their burgeoning ties as a “new era” and as “one of the main stabilizing factors in the international arena,” while criticizing the United States for “hegemonic” behavior.

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