'Illegal war must not be supported': UK's message after China 'willing' to help Russia

15 March 2022, 08:25 | Updated: 15 March 2022, 09:15

Minister reacts to latest China Russia news amid war in Ukraine

By Sophie Barnett

The war in Ukraine is "illegal, unprovoked and it must not be supported", the Foreign Office minister has warned in a message to China.

James Cleverly told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that the UK wants to "choke off" Russia's ability to continue the war in Ukraine, as he called on other countries to join them in targeting Putin's regime with tough economic sanctions.

In response to US intelligence claims that China has signalled its 'willingness' to support Putin, Mr Cleverly said China's president Xi Jinping should denounce the Russian leaders invasion.

He described the war in Ukraine as "illegal" and "unprovoked" and said it "must not be supported".

Read more: Nuclear war 'possible' and 'could only be a few steps away', warns former RAF chief

Read more: Minister 'glad' Ukrainian refugee website crashed after over 88,000 Brits sign up

Ukrainian MP's plea for a no-fly zone over the country

The US reportedly told allies that China is willing to supply weapons to the Kremlin, prompting Washington to threaten Beijing with economic sanctions if it tried to help Vladimir Putin.

It followed reports that Russia had requested military equipment, including drones from China, to make up for losses suffered in the first 19 days of the war.

The message, sent in a diplomatic cable and delivered in person by intelligence officials, also said China was expected to deny those plans, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Read more: 'Three British ex-special forces troops feared to have died in Russian airstrike'

Russia denied the reports, saying it has sufficient military resources to fulfil all of its aims in Ukraine.

China's foreign ministry spokesperson described the reports as "disinformation".

Moscow recently admitted that the war in Ukraine was not going to plan.

More follows...