(Bloomberg) -- China hit back at a report that the US has confronted it with evidence suggesting some of its state-owned firms may be helping Russia’s war in Ukraine, saying Washington should stop sending weapons if it wants the conflict to end.

China “would never add fuel to the fire, still less exploit the crisis,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Monday at a regular press briefing in Beijing. “The US is the one who started the Ukraine crisis and the biggest factor fueling it.”

“Rather than reflecting on its own acts, the US has been sowing paranoia and pointing fingers at China,” she said. “We reject such groundless blackmail, and would not sit by and watch the US harm the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”

The support from Chinese companies consists of non-lethal military and economic assistance that stops short of a wholesale evasion of the sanctions regime the US and its allies imposed after Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine about a year ago, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 25, citing people familiar with the matter.

US Confronts China Over Companies’ Ties to Russia War Effort 

The trend was worrying enough that US officials raised the matter with their Chinese counterparts and warned about the implications of supplying material support for the war, the people said, though they declined to provide details of those contacts.

President Xi Jinping has avoided criticizing Russia over the war and has offered to play a role in peace talks. Xi has also come out against the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict.

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