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The U.S. has reason to believe that China might be providing non-lethal military aid to the Russian military in Ukraine and is concerned that the country is considering sending lethal aid, four U.S. officials familiar with the matter told NBC News.
While the officials did not disclose specifics about the non-lethal aid, they told NBC it might include gear for Russia's renewed offensive, such as uniforms or body armor.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was very concerned China is considering providing lethal support to Russia, warning top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi that doing so "would have serious consequences in our relationship," Reuters reported on Feb. 18.
"There are various kinds of lethal assistance that they are at least contemplating providing, to include weapons," Blinken said.
Another source familiar with the matter told NBC News that the U.S. has been clear about its concerns about lethal aid. "We have not yet seen them cross that line, but we don’t think they have taken it off the table," the source said.
Earlier on Feb. 4, the Wall Street Journal reported that China had provided Russia’s army with military means despite sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Chinese state-owned companies provided Moscow with navigation equipment, jamming technology, and fighter-jet parts, customs records show.