Russian-Ukrainian war: “There are signs that Russia has asked for lethal aid from China”
At the head of the transatlantic military alliance, NATO claims to have “seen signs” indicating that Russia has requested lethal help from China.
Launching his annual report for 2022 on Tuesday 21 March, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said:
“We have not seen evidence that China is delivering lethal weapons to Russia.
“But we have seen signs that this has been requested from Russia and it is something that is being considered in Beijing by the Chinese authorities.”
His statement came as Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Russia for his high-profile visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Few details have been released on what the two leaders will discuss, but a 12-point peace plan for the war in Ukraine was released by China less than a month ago.
Stoltenberg, speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels, said: “Our message has been that China should not provide lethal aid to Russia.”
“That would be supporting an illegal war, and only prolonging the war, and supporting Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”
He said the meeting between the two leaders in Moscow was part of a “pattern” where China and Russia are becoming “increasingly close”.
Responding to a reporter’s question about China’s proposed peace plan, Mr. Stoltenberg added: “It is up to Ukraine to decide what the acceptable terms are for any peaceful solution, and China must therefore begin to understand the Ukraine perspective and engage directly with President Zelensky if he wants to be serious about peace.
“We must also remember that China was unable to condemn Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine.
“Having said that, I will of course welcome any initiative or plan that can lead to a just and lasting peace.
“China’s peace proposal includes some positive aspects and elements that I support – for example, the importance of nuclear safety and the protection of civilians, and not least, underpinning the importance of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.”