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Biden may reconsider some red lines on Russia-Ukraine war - WP

Biden may reconsider some red lines on Russia-Ukraine war - WP Photo: US President Joe Biden (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

To counter Russia's advance in Ukraine, US President Joe Biden is considering two new tough countermeasures. One of them could lead to another tipping point in Ukraine, according to the Washington Post.

“These moves would represent a significant escalation of Biden’s carefully calibrated policy of supporting Ukraine while seeking to avoid direct confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin or his key ally, China’s Xi Jinping. The fact that such moves are being considered now shows the administration’s growing concern about Ukraine’s vulnerability on the battlefield,” the agency writes.

The threat of new sanctions against China, as noted, is particularly delicate, as it comes at a time when both countries are trying to stabilize their relations.

“But U.S. officials are troubled that Beijing, while technically adhering to its pledge not to supply weapons to Moscow, has become the biggest enabler of Russia’s defense sector and its full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” WP writes.

China's assistance to Russia

According to journalists, the growth of Chinese aid is evidenced by a report by Nathaniel Sher for the Carnegie Endowment. After analyzing international customs data, Sher found that China is the largest supplier of 50 high-priority dual-use goods to Russia. The customs data also showed that China's share of Russian imports of these goods increased from 32% in 2021 to 89% last year.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told the BBC that these dual-use items are being used to help Russia on an extremely fast track to producing ammunition, tanks, armored vehicles, and missiles - although China continues to refrain from providing actual weapons. In particular, China supplies about 70% of Russia's machine tool imports and 90% of its microelectronics imports.

China also provides Russia with satellite technology that could be crucial for communications and targeting in Ukraine's battlespace.

US strikes issue on Russian territory

According to the newspaper, US officials are concerned that Russia is amassing troops and equipment to attack Kharkiv and other cities in eastern Ukraine.

“US artillery and short-range missiles could strike these targets without threatening deep strikes into Russia. But, for now, the United States restricts their use to inside Ukraine, so they aren’t able to strike the big Russian logistical and troop-marshalling centers just over the border. But that may be changing, as other NATO countries press Biden to loosen controls,” WP notes.

The journalists emphasize that we may be approaching another tipping point in Ukraine.

“As China leans harder into its partnership with a newly dominant Russia, Biden is weighing whether to deepen his alliance with Kyiv. This would bring new risks, but it would make sense if it could bolster a wobbly Ukraine and rebalance the negotiating table, which is where this war must eventually be settled,” the agency notes.

Biden's meeting with Xi Jinping

US President Joe Biden met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in San Francisco on November 15, 2023, and lasted more than four hours.

As a result, the two leaders signed some agreements and discussed Russia's war against Ukraine and the situation around Taiwan. Read more in the RBC-Ukraine report.