China has categorically rejected reports it asked Russia to wait until the Winter Olympics in Beijing were over to embark on its invasion of Ukraine.
On Thursday, The New York Times claimed Beijing was privy to Russia's plans to invade, citing a Western intelligence report, with details of the report shared by senior Biden administration officials and a European official.
Hours later after the claims were published, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded in typically abrupt fashion.
"The report by the New York Times is pure fake news," he told reporters.
"Such practice of diverting attention and blame shifting is despicable. The ins and outs of the developments of the Ukraine issue are very clear. The crux of the issue is known to all."
The New York Times claims the request was made in early February, several weeks before Russian troops began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
China's position on Russia's advancements has drawn criticism from the West who've refrained from condemning Russia, repeatedly stating the matter is complex.
Mr Wang instead pointed the finger at the US, suggesting NATO's development up to Russia's border "undermined the relations with Russia" and US President Joe Biden's failure to move away from allowing Ukraine into NATO has led to war.
"Those who created the problem should be the ones to undo it. We hope the culprits of the crisis can reflect upon their roles in the Ukraine crisis," he said.
"They should earnestly shoulder due responsibilities and take real actions to ease the situation and resolve the problem instead of shifting the blame to others."
Australia keeping an eye on China amid Ukraine invasion
It comes as Australia and fellow Quad members agreed they would not allow a similar invasion occur in the Indo-Pacific – a nod to China's increased pressure on Taiwan.
Leaders of the US, India, Australia and Japan met on Thursday amid fears China's goal to reunify self-ruled Taiwan could materialise following Russia's move.
A joint Quad statement said the leaders met to "reaffirm their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, in which the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states is respected and countries are free from military, economic, and political coercion".
India, which has had decades of diplomatic co-operation with Russia, has been reluctant to criticise Russian President Vladimir Putin, with mounting pressure for Delhi to ramp up its rhetoric regarding Moscow's orders.
Former Indian diplomat Anil Triguniyat told the BBC India had so far successfully adopted "a balanced approach".
"India hasn't criticised Russia directly but it's not that India has turned a blind eye to the suffering of Ukrainians," he said.
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