Leadership of Transatlantic military alliance, NATO says it has ‘seen signs’ indicating Russia has asked for lethal aid from China.
Launching his annual report for 2022 on Tuesday, March 21, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said:
‘We haven’t seen proof that China is delivering lethal weapons to Russia.
‘But we have seen some 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 published by China less than a month ago.
Stoltenberg, who was speaking at the Nato headquarters in Brussels, said: ‘Our message has been that China should not provide lethal aid to Russia.
‘That would be to support an illegal war, and only prolong the war, and support the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia.’
He said the meeting between the two leaders in Moscow was part of a ‘pattern’ where China and Russia are becoming ‘closer and closer’.
Answering a reporter’s question on the Chinese proposal for a peace plan, Mr Stoltenberg added: ‘It is for Ukraine to decide what are acceptable conditions for any peaceful solution, and China therefore needs to start to understand Ukraine’s perspective and to engage with President Zelensky directly if it wants to be serious about peace.
‘We also need to remember that China has not been able to condemn the illegal war by Russia against Ukraine.
‘Having said that, of course I will welcome any initiative or any plan that can lead to a just and a sustainable peace.
‘China’s peace proposal includes some positive aspects and elements which I support – for instance, the importance of nuclear safety and protection of civilians, and not least, underlying the importance of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.’