China hasn’t yet provided weapons to Russia in Ukraine, but doing so would be ‘real mistake’: Sullivan
US ‘watching closely’ for Chinese lethal aid: Jake Sullivan
Sun, February 26, 2023 at 9:45 AM MST·4 min read
Following warnings from the Biden administration that China is weighing whether to provide Russia with lethal aid for their war in Ukraine, the White House’s national security adviser said Sunday that “at this point” they have “not seen them take the step of providing weapons” to Moscow.
“We are watching closely,” Jake Sullivan told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz. “We know they haven’t taken it off the table. And we are sending a clear message, as are our European allies, that this would be a real mistake because those weapons would be used to bombard cities and kill civilians, and China should want no part of that.”
Sullivan said it was difficult to say whether China is “backing on, backing off” of the decision but that “what I can say is so far, we have not seen them do it.”
Chinese officials have defended their relationship with Russia as “built on the basis of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of third countries.”
But President Joe Biden told ABC’s David Muir in an interview last week that the U.S. stood ready to respond if Beijing moved forward with sending weapons.
Biden has ruled out giving Ukraine F-16 fighter jets “for now,” despite repeated requests from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Sullivan said on “This Week.” He called it a “question for later.”
Sullivan said that the U.S. government’s focus right now is to help Ukrainians “retake territory on the ground” in its southern and eastern territories.
Asked if it’s possible the U.S. provides F-16s in the future, Sullivan reiterated that that the White House has been prioritizing the immediate needs of this war and will continue to do so.
“Every phase of this war, the president has tried to make sure that the Ukrainian military gets what they need. In the first phase, as they were defending Kyiv, that was Javelin anti-tank weapons and Stinger anti-air systems. And that worked. It helped Ukraine defend Kyiv. In the second phase, it was heavy artillery to help them hold against the Russians pushing in eastern Ukraine. In this phase, the critical element is ground maneuver capability. And that means tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles,” Sullivan said. “And so what the president is saying is he’s focused on those capabilities.”Story continues
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