The White House is raising alarms that Russia will provide advanced defense equipment to Iran, after Tehran has provided Russia’s forces with a supply of lethal drones it has used to inflict punishing damage on Ukrainian infrastructure and civilians.
And President Joe Biden told reporters he isn’t worried at present that China will throw its support to Russia in its war on Ukraine.
‘There is no evidence of that so far,’ Biden said. He said he held a ‘private discussion’ with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about his request about providing U.S. F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby mentioned the prospect on a call with reporters, on a day the administration imposed further sanctions on Russia on the anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine.
‘We believe Russia might provide Iran unprecedented defense cooperation, including missiles, electronics and air defense. We believe that Russia might provide Iran with fighter jets,’ said Kirby.
He made the comment following reports Russia is in talks to purchase military drones from China, despite repeated warnings from western powers to stay out of the conflict.
Adm. John Kirby warned Russia may provide ‘unprecedented’ defense cooperation to Iran, which has been supplying Russia with drones
President Joe Biden said ‘there is no evidence of that so far,’ when asked if he was concerned China would assist Russia’s war in Ukraine
‘Iran is seeking billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment,’ said Kirby, who mentioned helicopters and radar.
He didn’t provide information on the type of jets or the time-frame.
It all comes amid a relentless war that has both sides scouring the globe for ammunition and equipment.
The Pentagon announced its own $2 billion aid package for Ukraine Friday, with new Switchblade 600 killer drones, along with artillery rounds and laser-guided munitions.
In a break with the past, DOD did not provide the numbers of artillery rounds provided, amid concern about the size of stockpiles and following a stunning intelligence breach.
The White House has announced yet another package of sweeping sanctions targeting Russia on the one-year anniversary of its brutal invasion of Ukraine – with new efforts to target third countries including China for sanctions evasion.
The latest sanctions, which come on top of a series of previous efforts, target 200 individuals or entities, and bring in such sectors as finance, defense, and technology – amid the ongoing clash of powers to see which side’s arms, ammunition and stockpiles can hold out.
‘We are continuing to impose significant costs on Russia for its illegal war against Ukraine, including through additional sanctions measures,’ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in India during a meeting with U.K. finance minister Jeremy Hunt.
‘Our global coalition is working relentlessly to disrupt Russian military supply chains, limit the Kremlin’s revenue, and make it harder for them to use the money they have to source military equipment from abroad,’ she said.
President Joe Biden (C-L) walks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C-R) at St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral during an unannounced visit, in Kyiv on February 20, 2023. The U.S. announced additional sanctions on Russia and third countries who evade sanctions
Russian T-72B3 tanks fire at Ukrainian fortified positions in Ukraine in undated footage.
The sanctions come amid allied concerns about increasingly close ties between Russia and China
The Treasury Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department were each announcing coordinated new sanctions efforts.
The White House touted the new package of sanctions, which it had forecast during President Biden’s surprise trip to Ukraine, in a release.
‘As part of this announcement, we will target a dozen Russian financial institutions, in alignment with allies and partners, as well as Russian officials and proxy authorities illegitimately operating in Ukraine,’ according to the White House.
‘We will sanction additional actors tied to Russia’s defense and technology industry, including those responsible for backfilling Russian stocks of sanctioned items or enabling Russian sanctions evasion.’
The sanctions target Russia’s future energy capabilities ‘in a manner that does not impact current production to minimize market disruption,’ according to the White House – amid Europe’s continued reliance on Russia for its energy needs.
Sanctions are also enhanced against Russia’s metals and mining sector, again ‘tailored to minimize market disruption’ – amid indications that some of Russia’s most withering attacks are on parts of Ukraine that have mineral or mining assets.
The government is slapping increased tariffs on more than 100 Russian metals, minerals, and chemical products valued at $2.8 billion, according to the White House.
Biden is set to hold a virtual meeting from the White House with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House Friday over the efforts. The event is set to be closed to the press.
Yellen spoke about the sanctions at a meeting with fellow finance ministers and bank governors in Bengaluru amid India’s G20 Presidency.
‘In the year ahead, we’ll redouble our efforts at disrupting Russian sanctions evasion efforts. That includes by sharing intelligence, identifying and eliminating specific networks, and making it harder for companies and jurisdictions to serve as evasion channels,’ she vowed.
‘Our work together also includes the price cap on Russian crude oil and refined products. While it is still early, we are seeing progress towards its twin goals of reducing Russian revenue and promoting stability in global oil markets,’ she said.
The White House released a detailed fact sheet on its efforts to date. The moves, together with actions by allies, have isolated Russia.
The data mentions China by name as among those on the ‘entity list’ of those evading sanctions and helping backfill Russia’s defense sector.
‘These listings will prohibit the targeted companies from purchasing items, such as semiconductors, whether made in the U.S. or with certain U.S. technology or software abroad,’ according to the White House.
A view of damaged building is seen after Russian attack as Russia-Ukraine war continues in Kherson Oblast, Ukraine on February 22, 2023
A Ukrainian Army doctor from the 72nd Mechanized Brigade treats a soldier at a stabilization hospital near the frontline in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
‘We are continuing to impose significant costs on Russia for its illegal war against Ukraine,’ said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen