"If there is a conflict in Ukraine, it is not going to be good for China either," State Department official says.

Russia denies any plans to invade Ukraine but last month put forward demands of wide-ranging security guarantees from the West.
Russia denies any plans to invade Ukraine but last month put forward demands of wide-ranging security guarantees from the West. (AP)

The United States has urged China to use its influence with Russia to discourage an invasion of Ukraine.

"We are calling on Beijing to use its influence with Moscow to urge diplomacy because if there is a conflict in Ukraine, it is not going to be good for China either," Victoria Nuland, the State Department's number three official, told reporters on Thursday.

Nuland also said the US is confident Germany will not open the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russia if Moscow invades Ukraine.

"If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward," Nuland told reporters.

"I think the statements coming out of Berlin even today are very, very strong," she said.

Asked why the United States was confident, she said that the pipeline still had not been tested or certified by German regulators.

"We will work with Germany to ensure that the pipeline does not move forward," Nuland said.

Europe's most divisive energy project, Nord Stream 2 is designed to double the amount of gas flowing from Russia straight to Germany, bypassing traditional transit nation Ukraine, on the bed of the Baltic Sea.

It has faced resistance from the United States and from within the European Union on the grounds that it increases Europe's energy dependence on Russia and denies Ukraine transit fees, at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and the West.

Scholz-Biden meeting

Meanwhile, Washington said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet US President Joe Biden on February 7 at the White House to discuss tensions between Russia and Ukraine. 

The leaders would "discuss their shared commitment to both ongoing diplomacy and joint efforts to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

"They will also discuss the importance of continued close cooperation on a range of common challenges, including ending the Covid-19 pandemic, addressing the threat of climate change, and promoting economic prosperity and international security."

Scholz's office confirmed the visit but declined to give any details.

Russia denies any plans to invade Ukraine but last month put forward demands of wide-ranging security guarantees from the West, including that Ukraine never be allowed to join the US-led NATO military alliance.

The United States says it's a non-starter and has spent weeks trying to build an agreement with European partners on a strong sanctions package if Russia attacks.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies