China denies U.S. claim that Russia asked for help in Ukraine

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - China denied on Tuesday claims by U.S. officials that Russia had sought military assistance in Ukraine and accused Washington of spreading "malicious disinformation" that risked escalating the conflict.

"The U.S. has repeatedly spread malicious disinformation against China on the Ukraine issue," the Chinese embassy in London told Reuters in a statement.

"China has been playing a constructive role in promoting peace talks," it added.

"The top priority now is to ease the situation, instead of adding fuel to the fire, and work for diplomatic settlement rather than further escalate the situation."

Several U.S. officials said Russia had asked China for military equipment after its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, sparking concern in the White House that Beijing might undermine Western efforts to help Ukrainian forces defend their country. read more

The Kremlin denied any such request had been made. read more

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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