Will China help Russia in Ukraine? What is Putin asking Xi Jinping for - history of relations between nations

Russia has turned to China as they suffer losses in Ukraine

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly turned to China for assistance in the invasion of Ukraine.

The reports come as the US say that China has signaled that it would be willing to provide support to Russia in the conflict.

US officials have warned that the nation will face “consequences” if Chinese president Xi Jinping gives Vladimir Putin his backing.

But what is Russia supposedly asking for, and do the two nations have a history of allegiance to each other?

Here’s everything you need to know about Russia and China’s relationship.

What is Russia asking China for?

US media outlets have reported in the past few days that the Russian military have asked China to provide military and economic support.

After swift and tough sanctions were brought against Russia from the West, the economy began to rapidly deteriorate, which inflation surging and the rouble crashing.

Russian military movements within Ukraine have been slower than expected, with Putin reportedly losing a much larger amount of troops and equipment as the military attempt to takeover.

Putin had previously asked Syria for more troops, with reports of over 40,000 Syrians registering to fight in Ukraine.

Are Russia and China allies?

Both Russia and China have been long aligned with each other.

While not having a formal alliance, the two nations have an informal agreement to form an alliance against the United States.

Prior to a meeting between current sitting presidents Jinping and Putin, it was remarked that Russia and China share a “special relationship”.

The strength of the so-called alliance was built up in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The two grew closer after the EU imposed an arms embargo on China following the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

At the time, China relied on Russia for military imports, with the country making up 25% to 50% off all Russian foreign military sales.

While China has become more independently sufficient in the manufacturing of military equipment, the two countries still hold a relationship for certain items.

Will China give military and economic assistance to Russia?

President Jinping and President Putin met ahead of the Beijing Olympics on 4 February 2022, shortly before the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

The two spoke about the buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, with Putin insisting at the time that an invasion was not on the cards.

Both countries agreed at the meeting that they remained “united” in their anti-US sympathies and that they shared “no limits” to their commitments.

After the implementation of Western sanctions, China was reportedly open to giving Russia economic assistance.

The US shared intelligence which claimed that Russia had now turned to China for military support too.

While this has been refuted by both countries, the US warned of major consequences for China is they were to provide Russia with assistance.

Jake Sullivan, US National Security Adviser, said: “We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world.”

He also added that the US believed that China was aware of the planning of a specific military operation but “may not have understood the full extent of it”, adding: “Because it’s very possible that Putin lied to them the same way that he lied to Europeans and others.”

In response, China has claimed that US had been “spreading disinformation targeting China on the Ukraine issue, with malicious intentions”.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Putin, added: “Russia possesses its own independent potential to continue the operation. As we said, it is going according to plan and will be completed on time and in full.”

Support people fleeing the devastating conflict in Ukraine: donate to the DEC appeal

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) charities and their local partners are in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries providing food, water, shelter and medical assistance. Learn more and donate what you can today

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