China denies it asked Russia to stall Ukraine attack till after Games

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin described the allegations as a ‘fake and very despicable attempt to shift blame for the ongoing conflict.’

BySutirtho Patranobis, Beijing

The Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday said a news report claiming China asked Russia to delay its attack on Ukraine until the end of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics was “fake” and a “very despicable” attempt to shift blame for the ongoing conflict.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin repeated China’s accusations that Washington provoked Russia to invade Ukraine by not ruling out Nato membership for the Eastern European country.

Wang was referring to a New York Times report, which said Chinese officials told their Russian counterparts in early February not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The report quoted officials from the US President Joe Biden’s administration and a European official who cited a Western intelligence report.

IAEA board criticises Russian invasion

The UN nuclear watchdog’s board of governors on Thursday passed a resolution criticising Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and calling on it to let Ukraine control all its nuclear facilities, diplomats said.

Twenty-six countries voted in favour and two voted against with five abstentions, two diplomats said. One diplomat said Russia and China voted against while Pakistan, India, South Africa, Senegal and Vietnam abstained. Mexico and Burundi were absent, they added.

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