Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Why Chinese military assistance to Russia would be a "game changer"

Why China's military support for Russia would be a 'game changer'


BEIJING: China is "considering providing lethal support" for Russia's war in Ukraine, according to the United States.

This week, Beijing quickly denied the claim, but experts say it might be true and, if China did support it, it could "change the game" in the year-old conflict.

The following are some crucial inquiries regarding Washington's claim and its repercussions:

China has supported Putin diplomatically and financially ever since Russian tanks crossed the border into Ukraine, but it has not actively engaged in military conflict or sent caches of lethal weapons.

Russia and Ukraine have purchased non-lethal drones and other equipment from state-controlled Chinese companies; however, Moscow has been forced to turn to Iran for essential supplies like unmanned aerial vehicles. According to the United States, North Korea has also provided artillery shells and rockets.

Washington accepts that may be going to change, and on Sunday secretary of state Antony Blinken unveiled those feelings of trepidation.

He mentioned the Chinese, saying, "Based on the information we have... they're considering providing lethal support."

Blinken did not provide any evidence to support the claim, and critics will point to previous US intelligence failures. However, this is consistent with Washington's practice of disclosing sensitive information to derail Russian war plans.

Richard McGregor, a senior fellow for East Asia at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, stated, "The fact that Blinken has chosen to make his concerns public suggests that the US has robust intelligence."

Beijing accused Washington of "spreading false information" and "shifting blame," though it did not directly comment on any discussions that took place behind closed doors.

Putin was forced to resort to mass conscription, mercenary groups, and imports as a result of Russia's inability to gather enough personnel, munitions, and weapons to overcome the ferocious Ukrainian resistance throughout the war.

In the meantime, Ukraine was able to halt the Russian hegemon and even gain an advantage. However, some experts believe that the war is at an impasse, with both sides vying for decisive gains as Winter turns into Spring.

Against this setting, an inundation of Chinese weapons would be "a distinct advantage", Mick Ryan, a planner and resigned Australian armed force significant general told AFP.

"This is a conflict between industrial systems. Russia is currently outmatched by the West. Any advantage Ukraine had due to the West's industrial power disappears immediately if China comes along."

Chinese "munitions, whether it be artillery ammunition, precision munitions, or longer-range strike weapons, which Russia is running out of," "would make life very difficult for the Ukrainians."

Song Zhongping, a military commentator from China, stated that although China would not send arms, Moscow and Beijing would continue their political, commercial, and military cooperation before the Ukraine conflict.

"The demands made by the United States will not be met by China. He stated, "China will intensify cooperation with Russia in accordance with its own national will and concerns regarding its national security."

Numerous experts predict that Ukraine will develop into a Cold War-style proxy war and believe there is a larger game at play.

Alexey Muraviev, a security and strategic studies professor at Curtin University in Perth, stated, "The war in Ukraine is crunch time for the international security environment, for the world order."

It would be "a huge step" for China to export weapons, which would put Western sanctions at risk, destroy any remaining ties with Washington, and weaken ties with Europe.

However, Muraviev believes Beijing is at least as concerned about the possibility of Russian defeat.

He said, "China will be left alone if Russia is to lose in Ukraine politically or militarily." China is supported only by Russia, the only major power."

In contrast, he stated that a victory for Russia would entail "inflicting a strategic defeat on the United States." This would assist in reviving President Xi Jinping's narrative that the West is in decline, which was damaged by Russia's poor performance in Ukraine.

He stated, "Russia's failure to win last year was a little bit of a cold shower for the Chinese." They began to reevaluate their own capability to run a campaign similar to this."

"The war in Ukraine demonstrates that lavish military parades and grandiose exercises are fine, but the actual test of whether your military is up to the task is on the battlefield."

Muraviev is of the opinion that rather than supplying weapons directly to Russian military regulars, China may attempt to balance risk and reward in Ukraine by supplying weapons through state-controlled companies, North Korea, or the Wagner Group.

He stated, "I think their approach will be more covert."

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