US and NATO Express Concern on China Providing Lethal Aid to Support Russia’s War in Ukraine

Nearly one year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration is concerned that China may be considering providing lethal aid to support Moscow’s war effort. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed “deep concern” about the possibility of Beijing supplying weapons to Russia for its war against Ukraine, saying it would have “serious consequences” on the US-China relationship. In response, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference that China will seek to roll out a plan focosued on ending the war in Ukraine.[0]

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed the US’s concern, saying that if China were to provide assistance to Russia during its invasion of Ukraine, it could help escalate the conflict to a cold war. Retired General Jack Keane added that if China were to provide assistance to Russia, it would potentially be a “cold war” with China.

The US has released intelligence it believes shows that China is weighing whether to supply weapons to support Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to four US officials.[1] The Biden administration is concerned that China’s diplomatic and economic support to Moscow could go beyond rhetoric and non-lethal assistance.[2] Vice President Kamala Harris warned that any Chinese support for Russia in its war in Ukraine would reward aggression.[3]

China has responded to US concerns, with Foreign Minister Qin Gang saying on Tuesday that Beijing is “deeply worried” that the war in Ukraine could continue to escalate and “spiral out of control.”[4] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to meet with his Russian counterparts in Moscow Tuesday, and may even meet with Putin, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.[5]

China is in a difficult position, as the country is caught between its need to remain on good terms with the US and its desire to remain a strong ally to Russia. Beijing has remained officially neutral in the war, but if the US warnings turn out to be true and the country does provide weapons to Moscow, it could have far-reaching consequences for US-China relations and the global geopolitical landscape.

0. “China considering providing “lethal support” to aid Russian invasion of Ukraine, Blinken says” CBS News, 19 Feb. 2023,

1. “U.S. Considers Release of Intelligence on China's Potential Arms Transfer to Russia – WSJ” The Wall Street Journal, 23 Feb. 2023,

2. “EU top diplomat says China will cross ‘red line’ if it sends arms to Russia” POLITICO Europe, 20 Feb. 2023,

3. “Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 361 of the invasion” The Guardian, 21 Feb. 2023,

4. “China Urges World to Stop Saying Taiwan Is Next After Ukraine” Bloomberg, 21 Feb. 2023,

5. “Washington's concern grows as Beijing steps up diplomatic initiatives with Moscow” The Japan Times, 23 Feb. 2023,

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