NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a news conference in Brussels


  • NATO said Beijing sending Moscow lethal aid would be a 'historic mistake'
  • There are yet no confirmed shipments of weapons from China to Russia
  • Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea attended a NATO meeting in Brussels

As China and Russia step up their military activities, NATO reiterated its warning to Beijing that sending lethal aid to Moscow would have "profound" consequences.

In a press conference on Wednesday, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance has yet to confirm any movement of weapons between the nations but they are monitoring the situation closely.

"What we know is that Russia is more and more dependent on China. Trade with China has become even more important for Russia," Stoltenberg said following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

Stoltenberg declined to detail the possible sanctions China might face if it decides to provide weapons to Russia to aid in its invasion of Ukraine, only saying that "China knows that there'll be severe consequences."

He explained that "allies have been clear that any provision of lethal aid by China to Russia would be a historic mistake, with profound implications."

The United States has already expressed concern over the matter, saying that such action would severely impair the relationship between Washington and Beijing.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Western countries have banned the import and export of tech products to Moscow as part of several batches of sanctions. However, some experts believe that China may still be supplying Russia with high-tech products for military use.

"There is evidence that China is the biggest exporter of semiconductors to Russia -- often through shell companies in Hong Kong and the UAE -- to Russia," Maria Shagina, an expert in economic sanctions from the International Institute of Strategic Studies, told BBC.

"Some Chinese companies are also supplying civilian drones, exploiting the grey space between military and civilian purposes."

It was also previously reported that Chinese companies have sent over 1,000 assault rifles and body armor to Moscow between June and December 2022.

In March, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met to affirm their nations' deepening partnership and strategic cooperation.

On Wednesday, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea also met with the NATO Secretary General to discuss the global impact of Russia's war in Ukraine and the growing alliance between China and Russia.

"What happens in your region, what happens in the Indo-Pacific matters for Europe. And what happens in Europe matters for you," said Stoltenberg.

He underscored how critical NATO's support for Ukraine is, as the attack on Kyiv also threatens "international rules-based order that preserves peace and stability."

"If President Putin wins in Ukraine, it will send a dangerous message to authoritarian leaders around the world that they can achieve their goals through brute force," he added.

NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg holds a news conference before NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels