(FiveNation.com)- Bloomberg recently reported that China’s President Xi Jinping had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold off any invasion of Ukraine until after the Beijing Winter Olympics that begin on Thursday. However, China’s Foreign Ministry quickly denied the report, claiming Bloomberg invented the story “out of thin air” as a way to drive a wedge between Russia and China.
Last Monday, the Russian news agency TASS asked China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian to respond to the January 21 Bloomberg article.
Calling the report a “despicable trick,” Zhao accused Bloomberg of not only seeking “to smear and drive a wedge in China-Russia relations,” but also said Bloomberg was deliberately disrupting and undermining the Beijing Olympics.
China’s Embassy in Russia also denied the report, calling Bloomberg’s story “a hoax and provocation.”
Last Monday, China’s state-run Global Times slammed the Bloomberg piece as “disinformation” and part of the West’s overall attempt to “instigate divergences between Beijing and Moscow.”
But it wasn’t just China that took issue with the Bloomberg report. Russia was none too pleased either.
In a statement released the day after the Bloomberg story hit, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Bloomberg of launching an “information operation” on behalf of the US government. She also said the American media has been smearing the Beijing Olympics for months at the behest of Washington.
Meanwhile, some in the Biden administration are continuing to give legs to the Bloomberg story.
On Wednesday, while speaking at a virtual conference, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman suggested that Putin may be weighing the possibility of launching an invasion of Ukraine after he returns from the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
Sherman said the US is seeing “every indication” that Putin will use force sometime between now and the middle of February. She said Putin plans to attend the opening ceremonies on February 4, adding President Xi “would not be ecstatic if Putin chose that moment to invade Ukraine.”
Given that, Sherman added, Putin’s timing may be influenced by the Beijing Olympics.