Russia's alliance with China a 'turning point in security'
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Wang Yi told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on a call today (Tuesday) that China wanted to see a resolution through negotiation, according to state media. He also remarked that China was “paying extreme attention to the harm suffered by civilians”.
Last week, Putin ordered a full scale invasion of Ukraine following months of tensions along the two nations’ shared border.
Russian and Ukrainian forces have been locked in battles for control, with the Ukraine so far repelling Russian attacks on major cities.
However, the invading Russian military has been firing missiles at targets including the capital, Kyiv, which have caused tragic civilian losses.
Russia has now been formally accused of war crimes, a claim which the International Criminal Court at The Hague will now investigate, despite Ukraine not being in its jurisdiction.
China has been toeing a fine line diplomatically over the invasion.
On Saturday, China was one of three countries on the UN Security Council to abstain on a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion.
While it did not vote to denounce the military action, it did not veto the motion as Russia did, which may increase Putin’s sense of isolation.
In today’s phone call, Mr Wang said China “deeply regrets that conflict has broken out between Ukraine and Russia, and is paying extreme attention to the harm suffered by civilians”.
According to state broadcaster CCTV, he called for the two waring nations to “find a way to resolve the issue through negotiations”.
Mr Kuleba asked Mr Wang to use Beijing’s ties with Russia to stop the invasion, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement.
The call between Ukraine’s and China’s officials is the first to be reported since Putin’s invasion began last Thursday.
The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement that it had been initiated by Mr Kuleba.
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China is also restricting the purchase of Russian commodities, for fear of Western sanctions, Bloomberg reported at the weekend.
At least two of China’s state-owned banks – Bank of China and ICBC – are temporarily restricting the buying of raw materials.
Russia is China’s second largest supplier of crude oil, accounting for 15.4 percent of its imports.
However, oil importers in China have temporarily paused new seaborn purchases of crude oil from Russia.
In recent years, China has shared close ties with Ukraine, as it sought to gain an ally in Europe.
Last month, Mr Xi marked 30 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries, celebrating the “deepening political mutual trust” they shared.
In a call last Friday, Mr Xi told Putin that China “respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations” in a cold rebuff of the Russian President’s unprovoked incursion.
Ukraine is also a recipient of China’s Belt and Road Initiative – a soft power initiative that sees Chinese financing of other countries’ infrastructure.
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