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China Asks Russia to Postpone War with Ukraine Until After the Winter Olympics

The New York Times reports from a western intelligence report that senior Chinese officials told Russian officials in early February to delay their invasion of Ukraine until after the Winter Olympics, hosted in Beijing, China. The Times article suggests that the Chinese officials had some prior knowledge of Russia’s plan to attack Ukraine. 

Before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 4th, almost a month ago, Russian leader President Vladimir Putin met with China’s leader, President Xi Jinping. There, they issue a statement declaring their partnership has “no limits.” China backed Russia’s belief to denounce NATO and their expansion in the East and is quoted that they will “counter interference by outside forces in the internal affairs of sovereign countries under any pretext.”  

“The intelligence on the exchange between the Chinese and Russian officials was classified. It was collected by a Western intelligence service and considered credible by officials,” says Times reporters Edward Wong and Julian E. Barns.

In light of this insight from Biden administration officials and a European official, the world wonders if China really did know about the attack that started just four days after the Closing Ceremony, and three days after he sends a host of Russian troops to an insurgent-controlled area in eastern Ukraine which led to the eventual invasion starting on February 24, 2022. 

American and European officials speculate the coincidence of the invasion, especially after Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, during the Summer Olympics in Beijing. China and Russia have strengthened their diplomatic relationship, as they’ve met 37 times as national leaders before their recent meeting in Beijing. Their joint statement against the expansion of NATO was concerning to both American and European officials.

In response to these allegations, Lui Penhyu, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington says, “The claims mentioned in the relevant reports are speculations without any basis and are intended to blame-shift and smear China.”


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