China supplying equipment to Russia it should not, French diplomat says
PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron’s top diplomatic adviser said China was delivering items that could be used as military equipment to Russia, although not on a massive scale.
Asked at the Aspen Security Forum late on Thursday if the West had seen any evidence that China has armed Russia in any way in the war in Ukraine, Emmanuel Bonne, the head of Macron’s diplomatic team at the Elysee Palace, told the moderator: “Yes, there are indications that they are doing things we would prefer them not to do.”
When pressed on whether China was delivering weapons, Bonne said: “Well, kind of military equipment … as far as we know they are not delivering massively military capacities to Russia but (we need that to be) no delivery.”
French officials told CNN that Bonne was referencing both dual-use technologies and non-lethal assistance, such as helmets and body armour.
Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said U.S. officials are concerned about transfers of “dual-use equipment” from China to Russia that could be used to kill Ukrainians or have a significant battlefield impact.
“We have not yet seen the transfer of lethal assistance from China to Russia for use on the battlefield in Ukraine, but it’s something that we’re vigilant about and continuing to watch carefully,” the official said.
“We will continue to take action against companies that provide support to Russia’s war effort whether they are based in the PRC (People’s Republic of China) or anywhere around the world,” the official said.
Macron’s office did not immediately return Reuters requests for comment. The Chinese embassy in Paris did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
China has repeatedly denied sending military equipment to Russia since Moscow’s all-out invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Bonne rarely speaks to the media on-the-record, but regularly briefs reporters on background. He was part of Macron’s diplomatic delegation during the French president’s trip to China in April and has been Macron’s point of contact with top Chinese officials.
“What we need most is Chinese abstention,” Bonne said. “We need them to understand that Ukraine is a conflict of global magnitude and that we cannot afford Ukraine to lose for reasons of principle, but also for reasons which are very operational.”
Bonne was asked what things China shouldn’t do. “The delivery of weapons certainly, economic support,” he said.
Reporting by Michel Rose in Paris and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by Sharon Singleton and Rosalba O’Brien.