China is considering sending weapons, ammunition and drones to Russia, according to information the Biden administration declassified at the end of February 2023.
China’s military aid would directly support Russia’s war in Ukraine.
This public disclosure, emerging less than a month after the U.S. navy shot down a Chinese balloon that allegedly was being used for spying purposes, further heightened existing tensions between the U.S. and China.
It also comes as Russia is facing mounting costs in its war on Ukraine – both financial and in human lives.
These setbacks have pushed Russia to seek help where the government can find it.
Russia has tried to secure weapons and other military support from allies such as North Korea and neighboring country Belarus. Russia has also turned to neutral countries like India and China to whom it can sell its oil and gas and bring in more money.
China has not publicly announced a decision to give military aid to Russia.
I am a scholar of international relations whose work focuses on the increasing competition between the U.S. and China. Based on my research, I’m certain Russia would welcome any assistance China would offer. China’s decision about whether to get involved in the Ukraine war will be carefully calculated, factoring in potential long-term benefits, risks and the influence of Western powers.
But I think that China’s choice in supporting Russia or not chiefly comes down to two considerations: how the Ukraine conflict will affect China’s overall growth in world politics, and its interest in invading Taiwan.