April 18. 2024. 12:47

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Ukraine invasion: Any China lethal aid to Russia would come at real costs, US says

China has not moved toward providing lethal aid that would help Russia in its invasion of Ukraine and the US has made clear behind closed doors that such a move would have serious consequences, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.

“Beijing will have to make its own decisions about how it proceeds, whether it provides military assistance, but if it goes down that road, it will come at real costs to China,” Mr Sullivan said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” programme.

China has not moved forward in providing that aid, but neither has Beijing taken that option off the table, Mr Sullivan said in a separate interview on ABC’s “This Week” programme.

US officials have warned their Chinese counterparts behind closed doors about what those costs might be, Mr Sullivan said, but he would not elaborate on those private discussions.

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Ukraine invasion: Any China lethal aid to Russia would come at real costs, US says

Ukraine invasion: Any China lethal aid to Russia would come at real costs, US says

The United States and its Nato allies have been scrambling to warn China against such a move in recent days, making public comments on their belief that China is considering providing lethal equipment to Russia.

CIA director William Burns also weighed in regarding China on Sunday.

“We’re confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment. We also don’t see that a final decision has been made yet, and we don’t see evidence of actual shipments of lethal equipment,” Mr Burns told the CBS programme Face the Nation.

Republican representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said on This Week that the US intelligence shows drones are among the lethal weapons China has considered sending to Russia.

The US is sending support to Ukraine which aims to put it in a strong position against an expected Russian spring offensive, President Joe Biden told ABC News.

US president Joe Biden visited Kyiv and met Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy last Monday, promising new military aid for Ukraine worth $500 million. Last week marked the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion. The United States has been by far the largest supplier of military assistance to help Ukraine repel better-equipped Russian forces. Ukraine expects a big new Russian offensive soon.

Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin said in an interview on Sunday that Russia has no choice but to take into account Nato’s nuclear capabilities.

He made the remarks in justifying Russia’s recent suspension of its participation in the New START treaty, which seeks to cap the number of nuclear warheads possessed by the US and Russia.

Mr Putin said that Russia faces an existential threat because, in his view, Nato members are seeking the country’s “strategic defeat”.

[ EU vows to increase pressure on Moscow ‘until Ukraine is liberated’ ]

He said on Russian state TV, that the suspension of New START stemmed from the need to “ensure security, strategic stability” for Russia.

“When all the leading Nato countries have declared their main goal as inflicting a strategic defeat on us, how can we ignore their nuclear capabilities in these conditions?” he said.

Mr Putin declared on Tuesday that Moscow was suspending its participation in the 2010 New START treaty, saying that Russia can’t accept US inspections of its nuclear sites under the pact while Washington and its Nato allies seek Russia’s defeat in Ukraine.

[ G20 meeting in India ends without consensus on Ukraine war ]

He emphasised that Moscow was not withdrawing from the pact altogether, and the Russian foreign ministry said the country would respect the treaty’s caps on nuclear weapons and keep notifying the US about test launches of ballistic missiles.

In the interview with Russia 1 television broadcast on Sunday – two days after the one-year anniversary of the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine – Mr Putin said that while Nato countries are not party to the treaty, they became part of the “discussions on the issue,” which Moscow does not object to, especially since it cannot ignore Nato’s nuclear capabilities.

Ukrainian former professional boxer Wladimir Klitschko is to become one of the first drivers of the newly delivered German Leopard 2A6 tanks to Ukraine.

Mr Putin alleged that the West wants to eliminate Russia, a notion that he has repeatedly used to justify Russian aggression in Ukraine.

“They have one goal: to disband the former Soviet Union and its fundamental part – the Russian Federation,” he said.

If the West succeeds in destroying Russia and establishing control, he said, the Russian people may not survive as a unified nation.

“There will be Muscovites, Uralians and others,” he said of Russia’s possible fragmentation.

The West could only partly accept Russia into the so-called “family of civilised peoples”, breaking the country into separate pieces, he said.

US president Joe Biden countered Mr Putin’s claims in a speech in Poland on Tuesday.

He said: “The United States and the nations of Europe do not seek to control or destroy Russia.

“The West was not plotting to attack Russia, as Putin said today. And millions of Russian citizens who only want to live in peace with their neighbours are not the enemy.”

Earlier, Ukraine’s military said on Sunday that Russia conducted unsuccessful offensives near Yahidne over the past day, after Russia’s Wagner mercenary group said to have captured the village in eastern Ukraine near the focus on intense fighting.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a morning update that Russia keeps concentrating its offensive efforts along the entire Bakhmut front line, were Yahidne is located.

The months-long struggle for Bakhmut, where only about 5,000 of 70,000 residents remain, has seen some of the bloodiest attritional fighting of Russia’s year-old invasion.

Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday his forces had captured Yahidne. On Friday, he had said control of Berkhivka, an adjacent village on the outskirts of Bakhmut.

But the Ukrainian bulletin said attacks were continuing, citing “unsuccessful offensives” near six settlements, including Yahidne and Berkhivka, in the Donetsk region, which Moscow claims to have annexed.

Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports of either side.

Ukraine’s Sunday bulletin said Russian forces had shelled the areas of 22 settlements along that part of the front line in Donetsk over the past day, while Ukraine had repelled 71 in Donetsk and elsewhere along the frontline.

The fierce battles along the front lines in Ukraine’s south and east, especially near Bakhmut, now consist of crawling attempts by each side to move the line, sometimes just a few metres at a time.

Russia has made progress towards encircling Bakhmut but failed to capture it in time to deliver a victory for Russian president Vladimir Putin to announce on Friday’s anniversary of his invasion. – Agencies