CHINA is willing to send weapons to Russia to help its invasion, the US warned.
And Beijing was told it would face isolation and penalties if it helped Moscow as WW3 fears grow.
It came after US national security adviser Jake Sullivan met Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome.
Washington told allies in NATO and several Asian countries that China signalled a willingness to provide military and economic support to Russia, but is expected to deny the plans.
One US official said: “It’s real, it’s consequential and it’s really alarming.”
The White House said: “We have deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia at this time, and the national security adviser was direct about those concerns and the potential implications and consequences of certain actions.”
Chinese companies defying U.S. restrictions on exports to Russia may be cut off from American equipment and software they need to make their products, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said last week.
But Yang said China was committed to resolving the conflict, adding: “China firmly opposes any words and deeds that spread false information and distort and smear China’s position.”
Ryan Hass of the Brookings Institution said Chinese support for Russia “would considerably narrow its path for preserving non-hostile relations with the United States and the West”.
It comes after Russia reportedly asked China for help last month with its Ukraine invasion.
Vladimir Putin’s side is believed to have asked Chinese president Xi Jinping for both military equipment and support after its February 24 invasion.
Several U.S. officials have since said Beijing could undermine Western efforts to help Ukraine, the New York Times reports.
And Sullivan said Washington believed China knew Russia was planning to invade Ukraine before it did.
He also warned Beijing would “absolutely” face consequences if it offered Russia support.
He told CNN: “We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them.”
Heavy explosions were heard in Kyiv Monday as an apartment was hit in one of the city’s suburbs. Over 2,500 civilians in Mariupol have died, according to Ukrainian officials.
There are many who remain in the city without electricity, water, and heat as the fourth round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators were put on pause until Tuesday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “difficult talks” are ongoing with Russia.
“Difficult talks continue. Everybody is waiting for news. This evening we will report on the outcome,” he said in a video message.
One person has died and six others were injured in Kyiv’s Obolon district after an attack on an apartment building.
“Rescuers who arrived on the scene found that as a result of enemy shelling between residential five- and 10-story buildings, a fire broke out in two apartments on the third and fourth floors of a 5-story residential building,” said rescue services.
Meanwhile, Nato has amassed 30,000 troops and 50 warships near Russia’s border for military exercises, risking Mad Vlad’s rage.
The drill, named Cold Response, has kicked off today in Norway amid escalating tensions between Russia and the West over the invasion of Ukraine.
We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them.
The exercise includes 30,000 troops from more than 25 countries from Europe and North America, 200 aircraft, and 50 vessels.
The largest Nato exercise which is held just a few miles from the Russian border was planned long before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine but its significance has now been heightened.
“This exercise is extremely important for the security of Norway and its allies. We will practice an allied reinforcement of Norway”, Norwegian Defence Minister Odd Roger Enoksen.
“It is not being held because of the Russian authorities’ attack on Ukraine, but given the backdrop there is a heightened significance.”
The aim of the drill is to test how Norway and Alliance members would work together on land, in the air, and at sea in line with Article 5 of NATO’s charter, which requires member states to come to the aid of another member state under attack.
“I find it totally normal, perhaps now more than ever, to train together to demonstrate our capacity and our willingness to defend our values and our way of life”, stated General Yngve Odlo, head of Norway’s Joint Headquarters and in charge of Cold Response.
The Norwegian armed forces said it provided thorough information to the Russians, including the Russian Ministry of Defense, saying that was vital for preventing misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict.
Russia has declined to observe the exercise, which is held every two years and is due to end on April 1.
And even though it was planned months ago, it is bound to infuriate the Russian dictator who may have “roid rage” potentially caused by cancer treatment.
Western spies have speculated Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine may have been sparked by his physical health condition as he appears “ashen and bloated” in recent pictures released by the Kremlin.
‘ROID RAGE’ SPECULATION
They believe he is suffering from a brain condition, such as Parkinson’s disease or a more generic form of dementia – or has cancer.
Another theory is that he is suffering from “roid rage” from the long-term use of steroids.
Side effects of steroids include increased risk of infection – which it is claimed could explain his paranoia about catching Covid.