Chinese officials have privately taken credit for preventing nuclear warfare, claiming President Xi Jinping warned Russian president Vladimir Putin against using nuclear weapons earlier this year, according to a Financial Times report.
Xi made the comments to Putin during the Chinese leader's visit to Moscow in March, Western and Chinese officials told the Financial Times. The Kremlin denied the conversation took place when asked Wednesday, saying anything other than the countries' official accounts of the leaders' discussion is "fiction."
The Financial Times' sources claim China is boasting that it cooled Putin's threats of nuclear warfare.
"The Chinese are taking credit for sending the message at every level," a senior U.S. official told the Financial Times.
Western officials had already predicted the visit by Xi would reduce nuclear tensions.
Josep Borrell, who oversees foreign policy for the European Union, said at the time of the visit that it "reduces the risk of nuclear war and they [the Chinese] have made it very, very clear."
The report comes two weeks after a failed mutiny by the Wagner Group in Russia. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that Russia will emerge stronger following the revolt. Putin launched a purge of the Kremlin following the mercenary group's advance on the Russian capital.