Russia's invasion of Ukraine could lead to World War Three if China provides active support to Russia in the war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Monday.
“For us, it is important that China does not support the Russian Federation in this war," Zelenskyy told German newspaper Die Welt. "If China allies itself with Russia, there will be a world war, and I do think that China is aware of that."
He said that he hopes China makes a "pragmatic assessment" of the costs and benefits of supporting the Russian invasion.
Yesterday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program that the Biden Administration was “very concerned that China’s considering providing lethal support to Russia.”
Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine almost exactly one year ago in late February 2022, hoping for a quick victory over its southwestern neighbor. The Ukrainian resistance to the invasion was far stronger than Russia had anticipated, and the war has dragged on with no end in sight and massive casualties on both sides.
Over the weekend, British intelligence reported that as many as 60,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine since the war began.
While exact figures for Ukrainian casualties are unknown, European Commission President Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen said in November that 20,000 civilians had been killed in the war up until that point.
Russia's alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran has deepened during the war, with Iran providing direct military assistance to Russia in the form of advanced drones which have been used in combat against Ukraine.
Last week, US officials told the Guardian that Tehran is using the war in Ukraine as a shop window for its technologies.
“While Iran has said it has sold drones to Russia, it has said explicitly that they have not been used in this conflict and that if they were, they would not ‘remain indifferent’,” said one official, who presented images of debris from a Shahed 131 killer drone used in an attack in Iraq in September 2022, for which Iran took responsibility, and debris from an attack on Kyiv in October of the same year, which proved the drones were of the same model.
Israel has provided extensive humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but has refrained from providing military aid to avoid antagonizing Russia, which is entrenched in Syria to Israel's north. Israel and Russia have developed a mechanism to prevent conflict between their militaries during Israeli operations to prevent Iran from building up its military in Syria and smuggle weapons to the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met President Zelenskyy in Ukraine last week in the first such visit by a senior Israeli official to Ukraine since the outbreak of the war. During their meeting, the two agreed that Iran's activity in the Ukraine war must be condemned by the international community and that Israel would expand the level of aid it provides Ukraine.