Ukraine’s head of military intelligence has brushed aside claims that China is considering furnishing arms to Russia, telling US media that he saw no “signs that such things are even being discussed”.

pro-Russia army poster in Moscow
A poster which depicts a Russian soldier with a slogan reading “For the Victory! For the Ours! For the Truth!” in front of an Orthodox church in Moscow on February 20, 2023. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP.

Senior US officials have said as recently as Sunday that they were “confident” China was considering providing lethal equipment to Moscow, with a diplomatic pressure campaign underway to discourage it from doing so.

But when asked about the possibility in a lengthy interview with Voice of America published on Monday, Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said: “I do not share this opinion.”

“As of now, I do not think that China will agree to the transfer of weapons to Russia,” he said. “I do not see any signs that such things are even being discussed.”

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken aired Washington’s concerns about potential arms shipments in a tense meeting with his Chinese counterpart, and the director of the CIA said in an interview on Sunday that he believed Beijing was still weighing the possibility.

Meanwhile, media reports in multiple American outlets have cited unidentified US officials as saying China was deciding whether to provide drones and certain munitions to Russia.

Head of Ukraine's military intelligence Kyrylo Budanov
Head of Ukraine’s military intelligence Kyrylo Budanov attending a press conference in Kyiv on September 22, 2022. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP.

Asked specifically about the US assessment, Budanov said: “I am the head of intelligence and I rely, with all due respect, not on the opinions of individual people, but only on facts. I do not see such facts.”

As to where Russia could still procure arms, Budanov said that apart from unconfirmed reports of shipments from North Korea, “almost the only country that actually transfers more or less serious weapons is Iran”.

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