New intel report: China asked Russia to wait until after Olympics to invade Ukraine

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A new intelligence report claims senior Chinese officials had asked and apparently convinced their Russian counterparts to not initiate an invasion into Ukraine til after the Feb. 20th conclusion of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The report remains classified, but some of its contents were revealed to The New York Times via several “senior Biden administration officials and a European official.”

Described by the Times as having been put together by “Western” intelligence officials, the report appears, for all intents and purposes, to be a product of some sort of joint effort between American intelligence officials and European intelligence officials.

According to the Times, the report “indicates that senior Chinese officials had some level of direct knowledge about Russia’s war plans or intentions before the invasion started last week.”

And indeed, the Times further notes that after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese President  Xi Jinping on Feb. 4th, their governments issued a joint statement “denouncing NATO enlargement and asserting that they would establish a new global order with true ‘democracy.'”

The statement specifically accused Western “States, military and political alliances and coalitions” of trying “to obtain, directly or indirectly, unilateral military advantages to the detriment of the security of others” through NATO expansion.

Thus, the statement argued, the two countries “oppose further enlargement of NATO and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon its ideologized cold war approaches, to respect the sovereignty, security and interests of other countries, the diversity of their civilizational, cultural and historical backgrounds, and to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards the peaceful development of other States.”

This is highly relevant given the going theory that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was predicated mostly on his anger over NATO’s slow and gradual but nonetheless inexorable encroachment into Russia’s region of the world.

As previously reported, last December Russia requested written “security guarantees” from U.S. officials that they wouldn’t allow Ukraine to join NATO.

According to non-establishment journalist Michael Tracey, Putin’s “core grievances” were “Ukraine’s potential accession into NATO, the already-existing moves to facilitate ‘interoperability’ between the Ukraine military and the US/NATO, and the conversion of Ukraine since 2014 into a de facto US military outpost.”

Instead of humoring Putin, U.S. President Joe Biden completely dismissed him. His peers in the U.S. Congress meanwhile introduced a bill that would amount to a slap in Putin’s face if it were ever signed into law.

Then two months later, an exasperated Putin invaded Ukraine. Tracey and others like him say this is no coincidence, and that both events are linked to one another.

(*Language warning)

The latest intelligence report, and the joint statement from Russia and Chinese, suggests Tracey may be correct to some extent.

However, at least “one official familiar with the intelligence” stressed to the Times that “the material did not necessarily indicate the conversations about an invasion took place at the level of Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin.”

The Chinese have meanwhile for their part predictably dismissed the intelligence as nonsense.

“These claims are speculation without any basis, and are intended to blame-shift and smear China,” Chinese Embassy in the U.S. spokesperson Liu Pengyu told the Times.

But the timeline suggests he’s lying.

“China held the closing ceremony of the Olympics on Feb. 20. The next day, Mr. Putin ordered more Russian troops to enter an insurgent-controlled area of eastern Ukraine after state television broadcast a meeting between him and his national security council and, separately, a furious speech in which he said Ukraine should be a part of Russia,” the Times notes.

“Early on Feb. 24, the Russian military began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, including carrying out attacks on cities with ballistic missiles, artillery and tanks. American and European officials have said they find it hard to believe it is mere coincidence that Mr. Putin’s invasion did not start until right after the Olympics.”

Speaking with the Times, Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, argued that the two nations essentially working together makes perfect sense given China’s track record.

“The Chinese support all of Putin’s narrative to blame the West for provoking Russia. I see no change in the Chinese views on Russia. They remain in a de facto alliance against the West at this point,” he said.

Some say it also makes sense given Jinping’s desire to do to Taiwan what Putin is trying to do to Ukraine:

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