A new report reveals that the Biden administration attempted to stave off the Russian invasion of Ukraine as far back as last November.
They did so by trying to share intelligence with Beijing. But the partnership between China and Russia was strong enough that the Chinese government informed the Kremlin as to what the US knew.
It adds more to the questions surrounding what preventative measures President Biden undertook leading up to the invasion of Ukraine earlier this week.
When asked about "urging China to help isolate Russia" at Thursday’s press conference, President Biden neither confirmed nor denied to answer.
But today according to The New York Times, it did indeed happen. It was over the course of several months that Biden administration officials pleaded with China to convince Russia to show restraint.
The way the outlet describes it is that it started after a video conference President Biden had with Xi Jinping in November of last year. Officials in the White House saw an outreach effort to China to try and cooperate on the matter of Russia’s troops surrounding the Ukraine could’ve improved relations between the US and China.
Days after that initial conversation, White House officials met with China’s Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, at the Chinese embassy. It was at this meeting that the Biden administration put their cards on the table, telling the Chinese government that they’d react with sanctions against Russia if Putin decided to invade Ukraine.
Biden’s people attempted to shame China for previously helping Russia out back in 2014 with the sanctions enacted by the Obama administration over the Crimean Peninsula takeover.
China’s ambassador didn’t take the bait from Biden officials.
It was as recent as the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping pledged "no limits" to their ties.
The public position of China has since been trying to play an arbiter, urging Western nations to carefully balance the "legitimate security concerns" at hand while also respecting territorial rights.
It’s on this basis that some are saying it is encouraging Putin to consider diplomatic talks. But it also serves as an example of international reaction to China. Chinese officials as recently as last week publicly supported Russia’s concerns about NATO expansionism being a threat to their security.
This latest glimpse inside the turbulence at the White House isn’t the first over the Ukraine topic. In late January, Jake Tapper and CNN were forced to retract their initial reporting about a call Biden had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It (now accurately) described the possibility of Russian aggression into Ukraine becoming a full blown invasion where their military would attempt to occupy the capital city.
However at the time, White House National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne downplayed the reporting.
This past Thursday a second incidence of mainstream media reporting something that the Biden administration would deny being true came via NBC News. They wrote an article citing two US intelligence officials who said President Biden had massive cyber warfare capacities at his disposal to use against Russia if he so desired.
In that case, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki denounced NBC’s reporting as "off base."
The response to the United States in the meantime is many rounds of sanctions. The latest of which is set to target Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov directly.
In addition, Biden publicly vowed to not send troops to Ukraine. But the Pentagon has also approved recent measures to send thousands of troops to bolster NATO allies.