US has slammed China for its support to Russia in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. During a US Department of Defense press briefing on Monday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that China’s “tacit support” is detrimental to the security situation in eastern Europe.
On being asked if the US is worried about China’s role in the situation in eastern Europe, Kirby said that China’s February 4 joint statement with Russia has provided evidence of China’s support to the latter. “We certainly have been watching…China has decided that they’re going to stand alongside Russia with respect to what’s going on in Europe…their tacit support, if you will, for Russia is deeply alarming,” said Kirby.
Speaking about the chances of an invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Kirby said, “We have said for a while now that military action could happen any day.” The statement was in response to a press query about the inputs received by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that speculate an invasion by Russia on February 16. He further added, “You heard from the national security advisor, making it clear that it — it — it certainly could happen before the end of the Olympics, maybe even this week.”
He also informed the press that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will be meeting senior military and government leaders in Belgium, Poland and Lithuania in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine’s borders. Kirby stated, “He will meet with allied and defense ministers across NATO leadership in the defense ministerial, obviously, to discuss Russia’s military buildup in and around Ukraine.”
Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. The troop build-up had raised concerns among the US and NATO allies that Russia is planning a military incursion. However, Russia has continually denied having any such plans.