Cognizant of claims from the US and the UK that Russia would fabricate attacks against Russian-speakers in Ukraine’s East as a pretext to launch an invasion, Chinese news sources have still begun to report allegations of Ukrainian strikes.

Quoting RSA Novosti and the Russian Satellite News Agency, the report alleged that mortars, grenade launchers and heavy machine guns were perpetrated against Luhansk.

Without referring to the Western suggestions made weeks ago that such attacks would be alleged as a pretext for Russian “intervention,” the Chinese sources refer to Ukrainian denials that any attacks took place. The text appears carefully worded to refer only to Russian reports without declaring them as facts, and and also carries Western denials regarding Russia’s claims that it has begun to withdraw.

Still, there is no reference to pre-emptive Western suggestions that such a false-flag attack might take place. It also provides a relatively full picture of Russian claims without explicitly questioning their veracity other than quoting the Ukrainian denials.

Such reports being repeated from Russian to foreign media suggest a degree of cooperation between the two, whether coordinated or simply because of ideological parallels.

The spread of such news provides justification to Chinese audiences should Russia decide to invade in the coming days. This has relevance not only for public opinion regarding Russia, but for those who may see parallels between Russian aggression against Ukraine and Chinese aggression against Taiwan.