Russia denies asking China for military help as PM says Putin's 'barbaric' actions 'test humanity'

13 March 2022, 23:14 | Updated: 14 March 2022, 11:59

Russia has asked China for help as Boris Johnson branded Putin's actions 'barbaric'
Russia has asked China for help as Boris Johnson branded Putin's actions 'barbaric'. Picture: Alamy/Ministry of Defence

By Daisy Stephens

Boris Johnson has said Putin's "barbaric" actions are testing "all of humanity", as Russia asks China for military support in its invasion of Ukraine.

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In a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mr Johnson "commended the president and the Ukrainian people on their fortitude", according to a Downing St spokesperson.

"The Prime Minister said Putin's barbaric actions were testing not just Ukraine but all of humanity," they said.

"The leaders condemned the murders of Brent Renaud and countless innocent Ukrainians, and the abduction of the mayors of Dniprorudne and Melitopol."

They added: "The Prime Minister said the UK would continue to stand behind Ukraine in all their efforts to bring an end to this disastrous conflict."

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The latest on Russia's invasion in Ukraine
The latest on Russia's invasion in Ukraine. Picture: Ministry of Defence

It comes as US officials said Russia has asked China for military equipment and other assistance, according to the FT.

Russia denied the claims and said it is able to achieve its goals in Ukraine on its own, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

He added that all of Russia's plans in Ukraine will be fulfilled in full and in the timeframes outlined.

The Kremlin also said today that the US and the EU are trying to tempt Russia into attacking major population centres in Ukraine, adding that they consider such behaviours to be a "provocation".

But there is a glimmer of hope, with both Ukraine and Russia suggesting peace talks have made progress and that an agreement could be reached soon.

Russian delegate Leonid Slutsky said the talks had made substantial progress and said more will take place on Monday.

Meanwhile Ukraine said Russia had began to "talk constructively".

Despite the positive direction of talks, the US and China are sending top aides to Rome on Monday as tensions between the two countries mount.

Speaking in advance of the talks, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan bluntly warned China to avoid helping Russia evade punishment from global sanctions that have hammered the Russian economy.

"We will not allow that to go forward," he said.

US officials are also accusing China of spreading Russian disinformation that could be a pretext for chemical or biological weapons attacks launched by Vladimir Putin's forces in Ukraine.

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It comes after Putin launched an attack on an air base near the Ukrainian border with Poland.

A total of 35 people were killed and 134 people injured.

Just hours before Putin had said Nato's supply of weapons to Ukraine were viable targets.

Speaking from Poland, LBC presenter Matt Frei, who has been reporting from the war, told Andrew Castle: "Yesterday Vladimir Putin said that those shipments from Nato in Ukraine are a fair target and overnight he was as good as his word and zapped them.

"This is not just pushing the war to the west of Ukraine, it is also getting very, perilously, close to the Nato border, the Polish border."

The war in Ukraine has been raging for more than two weeks now.

In that time Russia has been accused of shelling evacuation routes and targeting civilians, and has been hit by a number of economic sanctions as a result.

Ukraine has offered "staunch resistance", according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

However both sides have suffered substantial losses and casualties.

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On Sunday, American journalist Brent Renaud was killed by Russian troops whilst covering the war in Kyiv.

It was also revealed that a Ukrainian actor and presenter died after removing his bulletproof vest and putting it on a child during an evacuation attempt from the city of Irpin.

In its latest intelligence update, the UK MoD said: "Russian naval forces have established a distant blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, effectively isolating Ukraine from international maritime trade.

"Russian naval forces are also continuing to conduct missile strikes against targets throughout Ukraine.

"Russia has already conducted one amphibious landing in the Sea of Azov and could look to conduct further such operations in the coming weeks."