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Lawmakers urge stronger Ukraine support amid worries over China

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Top officials on Sunday called for more tools to penalize Russia as its invasion of Ukraine nears its first anniversary and fresh concerns have arisen about the possibility that China may be getting ready to support Russia in the war effort.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in appearances on several Sunday shows that it appears as if China is considering providing “lethal support,” including weapons and ammunition, to Russia — a worrying move to Ukraine’s allies.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) urged the Biden administration to designate Russia as a sponsor of terrorism as well as increase training for Ukrainians.

“We need to do two things quickly: Make Russia a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law, which would make it harder for China to give weapons to Russia, and we need to start training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 now,” Graham said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Graham also said it would be foolish for China to support Russia and its aggression.

“To the Chinese, if you jump on the Putin train now, you’re dumber than dirt,” he said. “It would be like buying a ticket on the Titanic after you saw the movie. Don’t do this.”

Over the last several days, Graham, Blinken and many other U.S. officials and lawmakers took part in the annual Munich Security Conference, a forum for world leaders to discuss key geopolitical challenges, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Several bipartisan groups of members of Congress traveled together to the conference to present a united front, even as some right-wing lawmakers have urged a pullback in U.S. support.

Analysis: United front in Congress on Ukraine, at least in Munich

The new concerns about China’s intentions have surfaced ahead of a “peace speech” that Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to deliver on Friday, the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

China will lay out its position on resolving the Ukraine conflict in a document underscoring that warring countries’ territorial integrity must not be violated, said China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, who spoke on a panel at the Munich conference on Saturday and met with Blinken on the sidelines.

“We have seen them provide nonlethal support to Russia for use in Ukraine,” Blinken said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “The concern that we have now is based on information we have that they’re considering providing lethal support — and we’ve made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship.”

Top U.S., Chinese diplomats hold first meeting since balloon incursion

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) called for even more weapons, including sending U.S. jets — something that President Biden has ruled out.

“We need to throw everything we can into this fight so that they can win,” McCaul, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“For the past year, we have been very slow at getting these weapons in, in the name of it being too provocative,” McCaul added. “If we put the stuff in from the very beginning of this conflict, a year from now may have been very different, as we look at the anniversary on Feb. 24. The longer they drag this out, they play into Putin’s hands.”

The call for more weapons comes after Vice President Harris declared Saturday at the Munich Security Conference that Russia had committed “crimes against humanity.” She called for the world to stand strong in continued support for Ukraine.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, did not rule out providing F-16 jets to Ukraine in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” But she stressed that Ukrainians needed to be trained on any equipment they use.

“It doesn’t help them if we provide weapons systems that they are not able to use and they don’t have the capacity to maintain,” she said. “So the discussions will continue over the course of the next few weeks and months as we determine how best to support them.”

She also said China would face consequences if it provided support to Russia.

“If there are any thoughts and efforts by the Chinese and others to provide lethal support to the Russians in their brutal attack against Ukraine, [then] that is unacceptable,” she said. “Again, that would be a red line.”

In a widely watched trip, Biden is scheduled to travel to Poland this week and is expected to reiterate the United States’ commitment to Ukraine as well as praise Poland’s support for the war. The United States has about 10,000 personnel on rotation in Poland as part of the NATO alliance.

When asked on “Face the Nation,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that he hoped the United States would provide troops to help deter Russian aggression.

“We are in the process of discussion with President Biden’s administration about making their presence more permanent and increasing them,” Morawiecki said. “It’s not only about us. It’s also about creating stability around us.”

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Fighting in eastern Ukraine continues as Russian forces make minor gains in their attempt to encircle the city of Bakhmut. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked Western allies for fighter jets as Russia mounts a spring offensive. Read the latest here.

The fight: Russia has been targeting Ukrainian civilian infrastructure with missile and drone strikes since October, often knocking out electricity, heating and water in the country. Despite heavy fighting, no side has made significant gains for months. Western allies agreed to a new wave of elaborate weapons, including Leopard tanks, hoping it may change the balance on the battlefield.

A year of war: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war has set off a historic exodus of his own people, with data showing that at least 500,000, and perhaps nearly 1 million, have left Russia since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. Despite that and extensive sanctions, the Russian economy has remained more resilient than many expected. There are signs, however, that Putin’s luck may be starting to run out.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the United States can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

Read our full coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.