WASHINGTON/KYIV: There is no factual basis to allegations China provides aid to Russia, China’s embassy in Washington said late on Thursday, after the United States put sanctions on a China-based company for alleged support to Russian mercenary company Wagner Group.
The US Treasury Department on Thursday designated China-based Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute Co. LTD, known as Spacety China, accusing it of providing radar satellite imagery over locations in Ukraine to a Russia-based technology firm.
A source said earlier this week that the United States had observed non-lethal military assistance and economic support from some Chinese companies that “stops short of wholesale sanctions evasion”, the source said. The source also said it was unclear if the Chinese government was aware of these activities.
Chinese embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu, when asked for comment on Thursday’s measures, said China opposed unilateral sanctions, adding that Beijing is committed to dialogue for peace on the Ukraine issue.
“The allegation that China provides ‘aid’ to Russia has no factual basis, but is purely speculative and deliberately hyped up,” he said.
“The US must not undermine China’s legitimate rights and interests in any form when handling the Ukraine issue and the US-Russia relations.” The United States has warned the Chinese government of consequences should China provide weaponry to Russia for use against Ukraine.
US officials say Wagner has been helping Russia’s military in the Ukraine war, which has reduced cities to rubble and killed or wounded thousands.
Kyiv seeks more weapons
Russia has stepped up attempts to break through Ukraine’s defences with heavy fighting in the north and east of the country, underlining Kyiv’s need for more Western weapons, Ukrainian officials said on Friday.
The Ukrainian military said fierce battles were under way, a day after Russian missiles and drones killed at least 11 people in what appeared to be a response to promises by Western nations to supply Ukraine with tanks.
After weeks of wrangling, Germany and the United States have promised Ukraine dozens of modern tanks to help push back Russian forces, opening the way for Canada, Poland, Finland, Norway and others to follow suit.
Russia accused the United States of “pumping weapons into Ukraine” and chided President Joe Biden, saying he held the key to ending the conflict in Ukraine — which Moscow says does Washington’s bidding — but had not used it. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked allies for their support but renewed calls for tougher sanctions on Moscow and more weapons to repel the invaders in the twelfth month of the war.
“This evil, this Russian aggression can and should be stopped only with adequate weapons. The terrorist state will not understand anything else,” Zelensky said in his nightly television address on Thursday.
Local officials on Friday reported heavy shelling in the north, northeast and east of Ukraine, scene of some of the heaviest combat since Russia’s invasion on Feb 24 last year.
Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2023
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