Sources told CNN: US intelligence believes that China is considering supplying drones to Russia

(CNN) — Three sources told CNN that US intelligence believes that China is considering sending drones and ammunition to Russia for use in the war on Ukraine.

The sources added, “It does not seem that Beijing has made a final decision yet,” but negotiations between Moscow and Beijing over the price and quality of the equipment are “continuing.”

And the sources added that Russia has repeatedly requested, since the invasion of Ukraine, drones and ammunition from China, and the Chinese leadership has been discussing over the past months whether to send such equipment or not.

US officials have gathered information in recent weeks indicating that China is leaning towards providing the equipment, according to the sources.

Last week, US officials said, the United States and its allies began warning publicly about possible Chinese military support for Russia in an effort to deter Beijing from becoming an international pariah.

The sources said that the provision of drones and ammunition, which is likely to be for small arms rather than artillery, would mark a significant escalation in China’s support for Russia, which has so far been largely limited to Chinese companies providing equipment such as helmets and bulletproof vests. as well as satellite images.

The US National Security Council and the US State Department declined a request from CNN for comment, and the network asked the Chinese and Russian embassies in Washington to comment.

German magazine Der Spiegel was the first to report that China might supply unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia.

When asked, Friday, about the possibility of selling lethal equipment to Russia, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “China has always taken a responsible approach to military exports and does not make any arms sales to conflict areas or belligerents.”

Earlier this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded to the US allegations, saying that China’s stance on Ukraine “can simply be described as promoting peace talks.”

Also, earlier Friday, China issued a “position document” calling for the resumption of “peace talks” on the Ukraine war, which US officials remain highly skeptical about.

Wang Yi visited Russia this week, and Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in the coming months.

Why might getting parades from China be important to Russia?

Russia has bought hundreds of drones from Iran in recent months, but it quickly consumes them during attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure and civilian areas, and Russian fighters are running out of ammunition to the point that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian mercenary group “Wagner”, published this week, He took pictures of dozens of dead Wagner fighters, and publicly blamed the Russian Ministry of Defense for its inability to provide them with sufficient ammunition.

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