US warns China will face real costs if it gives Russia arms for invasion

The US has gravely warned that China will face “real costs” if it helps Vladimir Putin by supplying Russia with lethal weapons for its invasion of Ukraine.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday (February 26) that China’s leaders in Beijing are weighing up all options when it comes to whether it will support Russia a year after its soldiers began invading Ukraine.

“This war presents real complications for Beijing. And Beijing will have to make its own decisions about how it proceeds”, he said.

READ MORE: Putin's £274m spy plane destroyed by drone saboteurs at its airbase in Belarus

The official was careful to add that while the US was not “making direct threats” against the world’s most populous country, it wanted to iterate how serious this decision would be.

“We’re just laying out both the stakes and the consequences, how things would unfold. And we are doing that clearly and specifically behind closed doors”, Sullivan said.

Sullivan also told CNN that that the question of sending F-16 fighter jets was “for a later time”, adding: “This phase of the war requires tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, artillery, tactical air defence systems, so that Ukrainian fighters can retake territory”.

The national security advisor’s comments came after a year of speculation amongst the international community on whether China will take a more active role in Europe’s deadliest conflict since World War 2.

China’s position on Russia’s invasion has been unclear since war broke out last February.

  • Russian soldiers send video to Putin moaning about 'being sent to the slaughter'

The FT reported yesterday that a top US politician revealed that China was considering sending 100 drones and other lethal tools to support Russia.

This is despite the country publishing a 12-page white paper calling for the end of the invasion just two days previously, which stated that conflict and war “benefit no one”.

Sullivan’s comments also came on the same day that France’s president Emmanuel Macron announced he would be flying out to Beijing to ask Xi Jinping, China’s lifelong leader, to convince Russia to enter peace negotiations.

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