FirstFT: US claims Russia has asked China for military aid in Ukraine

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Russia has asked China for military ​equipment to ​support its invasion of Ukraine, ​according to US officials, sparking concern in ​the White House that Beijing ​may undermine western efforts to help Ukrainian forces defend their country.

US officials said that Russia had requested military equipment and other assistance since the start of the invasion, reported the FT’s Demetri Sevastopulo. Officials declined to give details about what Russia had requested.

Another person familiar with the situation said the US was preparing to warn its allies, amid some indications that China may be preparing to help Russia. Other US officials have said there were signs that Russia was running out of some kinds of weaponry as the war in Ukraine extends into its third week.

The White House did not comment. Liu Pengyu, the Chinese embassy spokesperson in Washington, said he was unaware of any suggestions that China might be willing to help Russia.

“China is deeply concerned and grieved on the Ukraine situation,” Liu said. “We sincerely hope that the situation will ease and peace will return at an early date.”

The revelation comes as Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, heads to Rome for talks with Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign policy official. The gathering is set to be the highest level US-China face-to-face meeting since the Russian invasion began.

Follow our updated maps for a visual guide to the conflict.

More on Ukraine

  • Latest news: Russia has launched its most deadly attack yet on western Ukraine, striking a military base near the Polish border in a warning to Nato.

  • Sanctions: The US has ruled out offering any sanctions relief to Russia in order to clinch its support to revive the Iran nuclear deal. Meanwhile,

    the EU is preparing a fresh round of restrictions on Russian business people, with Roman Abramovich among the intended targets.

  • Explainer: Russia’s failure to win its war swiftly opens up a range of possible outcomes. Could Ukraine neutrality offer a way out?

  • Technology: China’s internet companies and technology platforms have become propaganda tools in Putin’s war.

  • Agriculture: Global consumers will feel the “enormous impact” of Russia’s war on Ukraine through sharply higher food prices and significant disruption to agricultural supply chains, industry executives and European officials say.

  • Refugee crisis: Poles have launched a huge civic mobilisation as the country struggles to help and house a flood of Ukrainian refugees.

  • Opinion: New Delhi’s decision not to speak out against Russia could imperil US relations, writes our editorial board.

1. Iran claims strike on Israeli target in Iraq Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have claimed responsibility for a missile attack on what the elite force said was an Israeli intelligence centre in northern Iraq, adding to tensions in the region as world powers seek to revive stalled talks with Tehran on the Islamic republic’s nuclear ambitions.

2. Rival Libya leader sets sights on Tripoli to replace administration The leader of a new Libyan government, Fathi Bashagha, has vowed to relocate from the country’s east to Tripoli within “days” to replace a rival administration, despite concerns that such a move risks stoking a fresh bout of fighting in the oil-rich north African state.

3. El Salvador prepares to launch bitcoin bond The central American country’s “bitcoin bond” is set to launch this week, but with institutional investors reluctant to participate and the price of bitcoin in decline, the launch may not be a success. “If this is a failure, a lot of doors close,” said Carlos Acevedo, a former president of El Salvador’s central bank.

4. Kirin’s $870mn push into healthcare and pharma The Japanese brewer will invest about ¥100bn ($870mn) in its healthcare and pharmaceutical businesses over the next three years, as Kirin pushes beyond the shrinking beer market at home and setbacks to its core businesses in Asia.

5. US warns of North Korea’s growing military power The US has warned of a “serious escalation” in North Korea’s military capabilities, after concluding that two recent missile tests involved “a relatively new” system that could send warheads greater distances than previous launches.

A South Korean news broadcast regarding the North Korean missile test.
A South Korean news broadcast regarding the North Korean missile test. Pyongyang launched two missiles — one on February 26 and the other on March 4 © AFP via Getty Images

Coronavirus digest

  • JPMorgan has accelerated plans to relocate some of its top investment bankers in Hong Kong to mainland China as draconian pandemic restrictions have made travelling from the territory to meet clients almost impossible.

  • Mainland China is struggling to contain its biggest coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic erupted in Wuhan two years ago.

  • A new coronavirus variant that fuses elements of Delta and Omicron was identified last week, according to the World Health Organization and GISAID. Its detection, say experts, highlights the importance of genomic surveillance.

The days ahead

India February CPI data Consumer price index figures are set to be released. Explore our global inflation tracker for more on rising prices around the world.

Global inflation tracker

Britons paid to house Ukrainian refugees A website will be launched today for Britons to register their interest in providing accommodation under the Homes for Ukraine scheme that will offer households £350 a month to provide accommodation for an expected influx of Ukrainian refugees.

What else we’re reading

SMBC Nikko scandal threatens future of equities division What started as a routine inspection has evolved into a sprawling investigation that threatens to sink Nikko’s equities division as institutional clients sever their relationships. Japanese TV crews, tipped off by prosecutors, captured footage of a late-night raid on the company headquarters.

Warwick tops online MBA ranking For the fifth consecutive year, Warwick Business School is number one in the Financial Times ranking of online MBAs. Alumni salary is again the main factor in Warwick’s success: an average of $194,864 three years after completion — a 36 per cent increase over that period. See the full list here.

The metals ‘visionary’ who brought the nickel market to a standstill Self-made billionaire Xiang Guangda has been regarded as the Steve Jobs of metals. But he’s in the spotlight for another reason — a huge wrong-way bet that has brought global nickel trading to a halt and plunged the London Metal Exchange into turmoil.

WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann on his next steps After a fall as spectacular as his rise, the charismatic salesman is back. This time he plans to found start-ups, fund others and create a new property empire.

The worry of what to wear to work is shifting In the wake of the pandemic, men now face the tyranny of choice that women have suffered for years, writes Pilita Clark. Having discovered the pleasures of the polo shirt at home, many wonder if they really have to gussy up in a suit and tie again.


The inaugural Marrakesh International Storytelling Festival, a week-long event in Morocco, has emerged as a silver lining from the difficult past two years of pandemic living.

An image to illustrate the Marrakesh International Storytelling Festival
© Matthew Cook

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