China asked Russia to delay war on Ukraine until after Winter Olympics: NYT

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Senior Chinese officials told senior Russian officials in early February not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, The New York Times reported, quoting Biden administration officials and a European official who cited a Western intelligence report.

The Times said the intelligence report indicated senior Chinese officials had some level of knowledge about Russia’s plans or intentions to invade Ukraine before Moscow launched the operation last week.

A source familiar with the matter confirmed to Reuters that China had made the request but declined to provide details. The source declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“The claims mentioned in the relevant reports are speculations without any basis, and are intended to blame-shift and smear China,” said Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington.

After weeks of warnings from Western leaders, Russia unleashed a three-pronged invasion of Ukraine from the north, east and south on Feb 24, just days after the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics ended.

The intelligence on the exchange between the Chinese and Russian officials was collected by a Western intelligence service and is considered credible by officials reviewing it, the Times reported.

One official, the Times said, was familiar with the intelligence said the material did not necessarily indicate the conversations about an invasion took place at the level of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin.

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