onsdag 16. mars 2022

How much can — and will — China help Russia as its economy crumbles?

Sanctions, asset freezes and withdrawals of international companies are hammering the Russian economy in response to President Vladimir Putin's military assault on Ukraine, leaving Moscow with only one ally powerful enough to rely on as a source of potential support: China.

"I think that our partnership with China will still allow us to maintain the cooperation that we have achieved, and not only maintain, but also increase it in an environment where Western markets are closing," Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Sunday.

U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan, in response, said it had warned Beijing that there "will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions, evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them." On Monday, U.S. and Chinese diplomats discussed the issue over seven hours of talks.

Siluanov had made reference to U.S.-led asset freezes on nearly half of Russia's central bank reserves – $300 billion of the $640 billion in gold and foreign currency that it had amassed since a previous wave of Western sanctions following its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in 2014.