BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese foreign ministry said on Thursday that reports on Chinese and Russian coordination ahead of Russia’s attack on Ukraine are “fake news.”
Such practices of diverting attention and shifting blame are “despicable”, said Wang Wenbin, spokesperson at the foreign ministry, at a regular media briefing.
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 New York Times report is pure fake news,” said spokesman Wang.
He went on to list and quote from public figures in the United States, including former diplomat George Kennan and former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who have spoken out against the expansion of NATO, the trans-atlantic defense alliance that Russia claims threatens its security interests.
Chinese foreign ministry spokespersons have repeatedly refused to call the Russian attack on Ukraine an “invasion” while asking western countries to respect Russia’s “legitimate security concerns.”
(Reporting by Eduardo Baptista; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)