Australia will support US China sanctions if weapons are sent to Vladimir Putin
Australia will support US China sanctions if weapons are sent to Vladimir Putin

Australia will support US China sanctions if weapons are sent to Vladimir Putin

China has described allegations by the United States that Russia had requested military equipment as malicious disinformation. The allegations have been spread in a number of media reports in the United States and to allies via diplomatic briefings to Europe and Asia.

As an American ally in Asia, Australia would also have received the briefing. The allegations concerned specific requests for military equipment, including drones, ground-to-air missiles and armored vehicles, but there are speculations as to whether the request was made by Moscow to Beijing at the beginning of the invasion on 24 February or recently.

Russia has denied that it needed help as the conflict continues into its fourth week, and Moscow is struggling with a shortage of troops, tanks and weapons after the deaths of up to 6,000 Russian soldiers and the destruction of 465 heavy vehicles, including tanks.

The capital Kiev was hit by huge explosions across the city before dawn on Tuesday as Russian troops moved within 15 kilometers of the capital. A series of attacks on a residential area started a fire inside a 15-story apartment building, killing one and trapping others inside.

Across Ukraine, many of Russia’s military offensives continued to stall under inefficient air force. U.S. officials briefing the media in Washington said more than 900 missiles had been fired by Russia, but Ukraine still challenged the airspace. About 160 cars filled with civilians were allowed to leave the besieged city of Mariupol, which is now running out of water, food and medicine.

At a meeting in Rome between Beijing’s foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Yang Sullivan said that China “firmly opposes any word and deed that spreads false information, distorts and tarnishes China’s position”.

A Ukrainian soldier passes a wrecked trolleybus and taxi after a Russian bomb attack in Kiev. Credit:AP

“China does not want to see the situation in Ukraine get to this point,” Yang said. “China is committed to promoting peace talks, and the international community should jointly support the peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in order to achieve significant results as soon as possible.”

But China’s unwillingness to condemn the actions of Russia, a country it has described as its “most important strategic partner” since its invasion of Ukraine began in February, has led the Biden administration to claim that it tacitly supports Moscow’s actions.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Sullivan raised “directly and very clearly our concerns about [China’s] support for Russia in the wake of the invasion “, and” the implications that any such support would have [China’s] relationship not only to us, but to its relationship around the world ”.

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Birmingham said Australia, after sanctioning Russia’s ally Belarus in February, had shown it was “willing to take sanctions against those players who support Russia in ways that support Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine”.

“We will continue to do so against anyone and everyone in relation to actions that in any way support Russia’s attack on the Ukrainians,” he said.

“What we urge China to do is stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty. Stand up for the rights of the Ukrainian people and put pressure on Russia to stop this war, to stop this war, on Vladimir Putin to end the killing of Ukrainians. “

China has hit Australia with $ 20 billion in trade strikes over the past two years, after Australia banned Huawei, called for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 and raised human rights concerns about China’s treatment of Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Australia has not directly sanctioned Chinese officials involved in any of the regions after adopting Magnitsky laws last year, but has supported sanctions from the United States and Britain.

The United States has coordinated with the Allies to establish a threshold at which China would cross the line in its aid to Russia, triggering new sanctions. The response to this breach would be coordinated across Europe, the United States and Asia.

Governments could impose financial sanctions on Chinese individuals, companies and financial institutions, seize their assets or prevent them from doing business – but they would have to be matched by partners around the world to prevent them from being circumvented.

China makes up more than 18 percent of the global economy, compared to Russia’s 3 percent, which means that any action against China will be felt around the world.

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Rating agency Moody’s said on Tuesday that the war in Ukraine had hurt the global economy just as it began to show signs of returning from COVID-19, and that oil, gas, shipping, car production and electronic supplies were now affected.

“The innumerable risks of supply chain normalization are coming just as they began to recover after the disruptions of COVID-19,” it said in a note to investors.

David Silbey, an associate professor of military history at Cornell University in Washington, said China had not yet decided what role it would play in the conflict.

“In a cynical superpower move, they could supply weapons to the Russians to keep the United States and European nations focused on Ukraine and distract them from Asia,” he said.

“But it’s a dangerous game to play, given how violent the setback has been for anyone cooperating with Russia.”

Maria Repnikova, a Chinese diplomacy expert at Georgia State University, said China’s ambiguous statements had put it in a difficult position that could be interpreted as standing on Russia’s side.

“I think if we look at global public opinion, it seems that it does not quite match the goals of improving China’s image or the idea of ​​getting on the right side of history,” she said.

With AP

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