Chinese President Xi backs Russian ‘sovereignty’ in call with Putin amid war in Ukraine

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Chinese President Xi Jinping declared support for Russia’s ‘sovereignty and security’ in a Wednesday phone call with Vladimir Putin, prompting a swift rebuke from the United States that nations are siding with the leader during the war in Ukraine would be “on the wrong side of history”.

Since Kremlin troops entered Ukraine on February 24, Beijing has refused to condemn the invasion. Instead, it distinguishes between maintaining ties with its most important strategic partner while being careful not to breach Western sanctions.

Xi reiterated Beijing’s position on Wednesday that it would continue ties with Moscow. He said China was “willing to work with Russia to continue to support each other in their respective core interests regarding sovereignty and security,” according to a reading of the appeal published by the official Xinhua news agency.

Russia has made an unsubstantiated claim that it invaded Ukraine to prevent a “genocide” of Russian speakers. Putin has long viewed Ukraine as an integral part of Russia, and his allies have suggested – contrary to international law – that Ukraine is not truly a sovereign nation.

The Kremlin’s account of the call said Xi “noted the legitimacy of measures taken by Russia to protect core national interests in the face of challenges to its security created by external forces.”

“More than three months after Russia’s brutal invasion, China still stands with Russia. He still echoes Russian propaganda around the world…he still denies Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine by instead suggesting they were staged,” a State Department spokesperson said after the interview. Wednesday’s call. “Nations that side with Vladimir Putin will inevitably find themselves on the wrong side of history.”

Beijing chafing at Moscow’s demands for support, Chinese officials say

The State Department noted that Putin and Xi met in Beijing in February, when Russian forces were already massing on the Ukrainian border. At the time, the two leaders had declared themselves opposed to any enlargement of NATO and had established a partnership “without limits”.

Last month, Russia and China flew strategic bombers over the Sea of ​​Japan, also known as the East Sea, and the East China Sea while President Biden was away. Tokyo, concluding his first trip to Asia. It was their first joint military exercise since the invasion of Ukraine and a strong signal of the growing strategic partnership between Moscow and Beijing.

“China claims to be neutral, but its behavior clearly shows that it still invests in close ties with Russia,” the State Department spokesman said. “The United States and Europe have warned China against military assistance or systematic assistance from Russia to circumvent sanctions. We are watching China’s activity closely.

China, which also has long-standing ties with Ukraine, has called for an end to the war. But Beijing has refused to join countries around the world in imposing sanctions on Moscow, instead blaming the United States and NATO’s expansion in Europe for fueling the conflict.

Xi told Putin on Wednesday that “all parties should push for a proper settlement of the Ukraine crisis in a responsible manner,” according to the Chinese reading.

Cate Cadell and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report

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Post expires at 9:16pm on Sunday June 26th, 2022

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