Russia counts on China’s sanctions aid; US warns Beijing
Russia said on Sunday it was counting on China to help it weather the blow to its economy from Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine, but the United States warned Beijing not to provide that lifeline . Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the sanctions had deprived Moscow of access to $300 billion of its $640 billion in gold and currency reserves, and added that pressure was being exerted on Beijing to close more.
“We have part of our gold and foreign exchange reserves in the Chinese currency, in yuan. And we see what pressure is exerted by Western countries on China in order to limit mutual trade with China. Of course, there there is pressure to limit access to these reserves,” he said. “But I think our partnership with China will always allow us to maintain the cooperation that we have achieved, and not just to maintain it, but also to increase it in an environment where Western markets are closing”.
Western countries have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia’s trading and financial system since it invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a special military operation. Siluanov’s comments in a TV interview marked Moscow’s clearest statement that Moscow will seek China’s help to cushion the impact.
But US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington was warning China not to provide it. “We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions, evasion efforts, or support for Russia to fill them,” Sullivan told CNN.
“We will not allow this to continue and for there to be a lifeline for Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world,” added Sullivan, who is to meet with the top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday. Russia and China have tightened their cooperation lately, as they have both come under heavy Western pressure over human rights and a range of other issues. Beijing did not condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine or call it an invasion, but called for a negotiated solution.
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping met in Beijing on Feb. 4 and announced a strategic partnership they said was aimed at countering US influence, describing it as friendship without limits. China is Russia’s largest export market after the European Union. Russian exports to China were worth $79.3 billion in 2021, with oil and gas accounting for 56% of that, according to China’s customs agency.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)