Feb 26, 2023 - Politics & Policy

CIA director: "Confident" Chinese government is mulling lethal aid for Russia

CIA Director Bill Burns said that he is "confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment" to Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Driving the news: "We also don't see that a final decision has been made yet, and we don't see evidence of actual shipments of lethal equipment," Burns told CBS News.

The big picture: Beijing has not condemned Russia's invasion and China's military, economic and political ties with Russia — one year after its invasion of Ukraine — continue to deepen, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian reports.

  • The U.S. has previously said that Beijing was considering sending direct lethal military aid to Russia, but there had not been evidence that any had been sent.

What he's saying: Burns also said that it "would be a very risky and unwise bet" for China to transfer lethal aid to Russia.

  • "I think the Chinese [government is] also trying to weigh the consequences of, you know, what the concerns we've expressed are, you know, about providing lethal equipment," Burns said, per CBS News.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also said Sunday that the Biden administration had not seen evidence of China providing Russia with lethal assistance in its war.

  • “We’re continuing to watch. We’ll stay vigilant as President Biden said, but so far, we haven’t seen it,” Sullivan said on NBC News' Meet the Press.
  • "I don't think it is in China’s interest to do this," Sullivan added.

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