Putin would anger Xi Jinping if he invaded Ukraine during the Winter Olympics in Beijing, a top US diplomat said.
"Xi Jinping would not be ecstatic if Putin chose that moment to invade Ukraine," Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said.
The US has put thousands of troops on heightened alert amid the tensions with Russia.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Wednesday suggested that Chinese leader Xi Jinping would be unhappy with Russian President Vladimir Putin if he invaded Ukraine during the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month.
"We all are aware that the Beijing Olympics are beginning on February 4th, the opening ceremony, and President Putin expects to be there. I think that probably President Xi Jinping would not be ecstatic if Putin chose that moment to invade Ukraine," Sherman said to a virtual chat hosted by the Yalta European Strategy, per Reuters. "So that may affect his timing and his thinking."
Amid escalating tensions with the West, Moscow and Beijing in recent years have strengthened ties and often side with one another on issues concerning the international community.
Since late 2021, Russia has gathered roughly 100,000 troops on Ukraine's border. The Kremlin claims it has no plans to invade, but has also rejected calls from Western leaders to pull the massive force away from the border with Ukraine. The White House over the past week has warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be imminent.
President Joe Biden in comments to reporters on Tuesday said that a Russian military incursion into Ukraine would mark "the largest invasion since World War II."
"It would change the world," Biden added.
The Biden administration has maintained that Russia would face severe economic consequences if Russia invades, including sanctions directly targeting Putin.
The US also has 8,500 troops on heightened alert for a potential deployment to Eastern Europe, in order to serve as a deterrent against Russian aggression toward NATO members. Ukraine is not a NATO member, but has sought to join the alliance for years and maintains close ties to it.
The Winter Olympics run from February 4 to 20, and Chinese workers have labored to carve Olympic ski runs into the barren hills surrounding the country's capitol - which is about to become the first city to host both summer and winter games.
There has also been discussion that a Russian decision to advance depends on the weather. Ukraine's mild weather leaves a ground that may turn to mud under the tires and treads of heavy vehicles, with analysts guessing Putin may prefer the frozen ground after a cold snap.
Putin has blamed NATO for the tensions over Ukraine, while making demands for binding security guarantees. This includes insisting that Ukraine be barred from ever joining NATO - a demand that the US and the alliance have repeatedly and firmly rejected as a non-starter. The US is delivered a written response to Russia's demands on Wednesday.
The Russian president has whitewashed his own record of aggression in the region, which is what pushed Ukraine closer to the West and NATO in recent years. Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and since that year has supported rebels in a war against Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbass region.