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UK defense secretary: Intelligence has evidence of Chinese lethal aid to Russia, world needs to 'wake up'

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 22, 2024 2:52 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) talk during a bilateral meeting on May 16, 2024, in Beijing, China. Russian President Vladimir Putin is in China for a two-day state visit. ( Contributor/Getty Images)
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Editor's note: The article initially quoted a report by the Press Association, which cited Shapps as saying, "lethal aid is now flying from China to Russia." Reuters cited Shapps as saying, "lethal aid is now, or will be, flowing from China to Russia."

The U.S. and U.K. have evidence that China is supplying or about to supply lethal aid to Russia, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said on May 22, Reuters reported.

Speaking at the London Defense Conference, Shapps said he was declassifying new intelligence to reveal the "quite significant" development and called on the world to "wake up" to the threat it poses.

China officially declares itself a neutral party to Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine and has denied providing lethal aid, but Beijing and Moscow continue to develop closer ties, most recently with Russian President Vladimir Putin visiting his counterpart last week.

U.S. officials have previously warned China against providing Russia with lethal military aid and urged Beijing to use its influence over Moscow to help end the war, though Shapps latest comments suggest those warnings are going unheeded.

U.S. and British defense intelligence can now reveal that "lethal aid is now, or will be, flowing from China to Russia and into Ukraine," Shapps said in comments reported by Reuters.

"That recent visit we saw, the… 64% increase in trade that we've seen between the two countries, reveals that there is actually a much deeper relationship there," Shapps said, as reported by Press Association.

Shapps did not elaborate on the specifics of the lethal aid he was referring to. He said it was up to democratic states to make a "full-throated case" for a Western values-based international order which requires "more allies and partners" worldwide.

"It's time for the world to wake up. And that means translating this moment to concrete plans and capabilities. And that starts with laying the foundations for an alliance-wide increase in spending on our collective deterrent," he said.

China has insisted that it has not supported either Ukraine or Russia with weapons throughout the full-scale war.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning responded to Western criticism in a press conference last month, claiming the partnership between Beijing and Moscow constituted "normal cooperation."

"China will not accept the accusations and pressuring," Mao said.

West’s stance on Ukraine war ‘completely nonsensical,’ says UK defense secretary
The West’s current stance on the war in Ukraine and delays in military aid are “completely nonsensical,” the U.K’s defense secretary said on May 19.
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