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'Any provision of lethal aid by China to Russia would be a historic mistake': NATO chief

06.04.2023 09:30
NATO's secretary-general has warned that "any provision of lethal aid by China to Russia would be a historic mistake, with profound implications."
Jens Stoltenberg.

Jens Stoltenberg made the remark at a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday, the Reuters news agency reported.

The NATO chief told the media: “The announcement that they [Russia] will deploy tactical weapons, nuclear weapons to Belarus just after they sign an agreement stating the opposite, just shows that these are empty promises.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin made the announcement days after Russia and China jointly declared that countries should not deploy nuclear weapons outside their borders, according to Reuters. 

Stoltenberg cautioned: “What we need to watch closely is actually what Russia is doing. And that's exactly what NATO allies are monitoring closely.”

The NATO chief added: “So far, we haven't seen any changes in the Russian nuclear posture that require any changes in our posture. But we remain vigilant, we will follow closely what they do. And we have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance.”

'Russia is more and more dependent on China'

Stoltenberg told reporters that “Russia is more and more dependent on China,” partly due to “the economic sanctions and the consequences of the war in Ukraine.”

“Trade with China has become even more important for Russia,” he told reporters. 

The NATO chief stressed: "Any provision of lethal aid by China to Russia would be a historic mistake, with profound implications."

Macron, von der Leyen to push China's Xi to help end Ukraine war

Meanwhile, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen  were set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in the late afternoon on Thursday, the Euronews outlet reported. 

Macron and von der Leyen were expected to make Europe’s case for bringing an end to the war in Ukraine, according to Britain’s The Guardian newspaper. 

The French president was set to hold a one-on-one meeting with Xi, followed by statements to the press. 

Later in the day, the pair were due to be joined by von der Leyen for a trilateral meeting and a state dinner, news outlets reported.

Western countries are heaping pressure on China to take a more active role in the peace process in Ukraine, the France24 broadcaster reported.

Although China is officially neutral, Xi has never condemned the Russian invasion, France24 noted.

Moreover, while he recently went to Russia to reaffirm his alliance with President Vladimir Putin - framed as "an anti-Western front" - Xi has not even spoken on the phone with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, The Guardian  reported.

France’s Macron on Wednesday said Beijing had a "major role" to play in finding a path to peace in Ukraine, and welcomed China's claimed "willingness to commit to a resolution" of the conflict, according to France24.

Thursday is day 407 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, Reuters, NATO, Euronews, The Guardian, France24