Ukraine Crisis: China refrains from direct political support to Russia, calls for restraint and diplomacy

New Delhi: In its first reaction after the Russian multilateral invasion of Ukraine, China has refused direct political support to Russia. Instead, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed hope that the Ukrainian crisis would be resolved through diplomatic negotiations.

“I would like to say that China is closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday. China is Russia’s only major friend and the only permanent member of the UN Security Council that has not criticized Moscow over Ukraine. This is why Beijing’s refusal to publicly sided with Moscow over Ukraine, and thus align with Russia at a time when it faces isolation by the West, is critical.

Hua disagreed with the idea of ​​calling the Russian attack an invasion. He said, “With regard to the definition of an invasion, I think we should go back to how we look at the current situation in Ukraine. The Ukrainian issue has another very complex historical background that continues to this day. It may not be what everyone wants to see.”

Observers said at least Beijing could have reassured Russia that it was moving forward on a recent deal to purchase Russian gas, despite new developments. This would have boosted the morale of Moscow, which suffered a setback after Germany called on the Nord-2 pipeline to supply Russian gas.

At the same time, China opened doors to Russian wheat supplies in an effort to ease economic pressure from Moscow after the United States and European countries intensified sanctions. It announced that it would buy Russian wheat, but did not specify the amount and duration of the deal.

On February 8, the two countries announced a trade agreement for the sale of Russian wheat and barley to China. Chinese customs on Wednesday issued an order allowing imports of Russian wheat.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who signed a friendship pact with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing on February 4, may be disappointed by Beijing’s reluctance to publicly stand by his country. But it may have to be content with financial aid from China, which it desperately needs.

Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the Russian, Eastern European and Central Institute for Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the official Global Times on Thursday: Moscow’s response, which has been putting pressure on Russia for a long time, shows that Moscow can no longer tolerate it.”

China wants to be seen as a country that stands by its friends. But he does not want to take Russia’s side publicly because Western countries are completely opposed to it at the moment. At stake are China’s close trade and political ties with many Western countries.

(with agency input)