Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov doesn't see war breaking out between China, Russia and the U.S., but if it did, it would "exterminate all mankind."
As the United States' relationship with Russia and China deteriorated, the two countries grew closer. Russia and China have denied that there are any current plans for a military alliance, although both have kept the door open to the possibility of one, raising concerns that a pact between Moscow and Beijing could disrupt the world order.
Denisov told the Global Times, a Chinese state-run outlet, that he wouldn't answer the hypothetical question as to whether Russia would back China in a war with the U.S.
"I am convinced that there will be no armed conflict between China and the U.S., just as there will be no armed conflict between Russia and the U.S. because such a conflict would exterminate all mankind, and then there would be no point in taking sides," Denisov said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in October 2020 that it was "quite possible to imagine" a military alliance between Russian and China, but that it was unnecessary at the time. The two countries have participated in war games and Russia has shared sensitive military technologies with China.
Chinese officials are also potentially open to forming a military alliance with Russia and in January, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said there is "no limit" to "how far this cooperation can go."
Denisov noted that in light of the current "international situation and major issues," Russia's position is "clearly much closer to China's." The U.S. imposed sanctions on both countries with the alleged "goal" of "crushing the competitor," he added.
"We clearly cannot accept such an attitude from the U.S. We hope that the Russia-China-U.S. 'tripod' will keep balance," Denisov said.
The Biden administration has expelled diplomats and imposed a number of sanctions on Russia for its alleged hacking of federal agencies and interference in the presidential election. The consequences are meant to deter future attacks, and Russia has pushed back on the sanctions with diplomatic consequences of its own.
The upcoming meeting between Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden marks a potential turn for the better and both countries are looking to improve their relationship. However, that's easier said than done.
Biden, who once agreed that Putin was a "killer," is expected to raise concerns about Alexey Navalny, a jailed chief political rival to Putin, as well as other dissidents. It's also possible that Putin and Biden could get into the topic of Russians engaging in cyberattacks in the United States. Recent attacks believed to be the work of Russian hackers disrupted America's gasoline distribution and meat production.
During an interview with NBC News, Putin denied his government had anything to do with the cyber attacks and accused the U.S. of engaging in "unfounded accusations" that aren't backed by evidence.
Denisov said the meeting is likely to "resolve important issues" between the two countries, but the goal is to set conditions for resolving future problems. Despite tension-reducing measures being welcomed by the Russians, Denisov denied it would have an impact on its relationship with China.
"This view is too short-sighted. It can't happen. I think we're smarter than what the Americans think," Denisov said when asked if easing tensions between the U.S. and Russia would "alienate" Russia from China.