Biden, Xi has called for a high-level call on where China stands on Russia’s aggression

The call comes after Russia requested military assistance and other assistance from China.

In a high-stakes video call, President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on Friday morning for the first time since November that China would support Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine amid concerns.

The two leaders spoke for an hour and 50 minutes, the White House said.

White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie said Biden would be open and direct, and that the call gave him the opportunity to “evaluate where President Xi stands.” According to the White House, the conversation “focused on the competition between our two countries, as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern.”

Biden is expected to warn China that if China directly aids Russia in its attack on Ukraine, it will have consequences – but it is unclear whether it will take specific steps if China provides military equipment to Russia or provides financial assistance to offset it. . The effects of global sanctions.

Seemingly a warning shot to the West, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that any foreign supplies with military equipment in Ukraine would be considered “legitimate targets” for Russian attacks when Biden announced a slate of U.S. weapons this week. Supply to Ukraine.

“We have made it clear that any cargo ship on Ukrainian territory that we believe will carry weapons will be a fair game. This is clear because we are implementing an operation aimed at removing any threat from Ukraine to the Russian Federation. Soil,” Lavrov said. RT said in an English-language interview with the television channel.

The Ukrainians woke up on Friday to the city of Lviv on the outskirts of the first strike, still considered a safe haven, and not far from the Polish border. It follows a stern warning from the Pentagon that Russia is expanding its targets and increasing attacks this week.

Although the Biden administration has been reluctant to draw a red line on how to change its position on a no-fly zone or non-support of troops on Ukrainian soil, Lavrov’s message raises concerns that Russia could fire on Ukrainian military bases from neighboring Poland to Ukraine. , A paragraph 5 triggers the response.

Earlier this week, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held a seven-hour meeting in Rome with his Chinese counterpart, described as “intense.” A senior Biden administration spokesman declined to say whether China had offered to provide military or economic assistance to Russia or whether it had already supported Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.

“At this time, we have deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia, and the national security adviser was directly concerned about those concerns and the possible implications and consequences of certain measures,” the official said.

The meeting was “long-planned” and “long-negotiated” as a way to maintain contact with China, but it was “at a truly timely and important moment in this crisis,” the official added.

In the last 48 hours, Biden and Shir have been critical of Putin as a “war criminal,” a “murderous dictator,” and a “pure thug.” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Thursday that he “personally” agrees with Biden that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine.

ABC News’ Ben Gittson, Connor Finnegan, Justin Gomez and Anastasia Bagayeva contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment