Chinese Communist Party calls United States 'culprit' behind Ukraine crisis

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Updated: Mar 29, 2022, 03:44 PM(IST)

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China Photograph:( Reuters )

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China has refused to condemn close ally Russia over the bloody invasion of Ukraine and lagged behind many other countries in providing humanitarian aid to the war-stricken country

The Chinese Communist Party has called the United States as the ''culprit'' behind the Ukraine crisis.

“The eastward enlargement of Nato, led by the United States, is the root of the Ukrainian crisis,” said the article, published on page three of the People’s Daily under the pseudonym Zhong Sheng, used by the party mouthpiece for commentary on key international issues.

“NATO has become a tool for the United States to practice its hegemony,” the commentary said. 

“The US-led Nato has for a long time created turbulence around Russia, including starting ‘colour revolutions’.”

The article, which accused the US of “directing and acting” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was the first in a series planned by the newspaper to focus on blaming Washington for the war in Ukraine.

Yun Sun, director of the China programme at the Washington-based Stimson Centre think tank, said Beijing’s Ukraine messaging was primarily for its domestic audience, “and also to stress that China’s siding with Russia is just”.

“China differentiates between rhetoric, which is pro-Russia, and diplomacy, which is more balanced, and real actions, which are lacking on supporting Russia. In this case, I think the pro-Russia rhetoric is a part of the policy.”

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Sun added that China’s pushing of the Ukraine bioweapons claim is an extension of the controversy surrounding the origin of Covid-19.

“The lab theory just plays into China’s narrative about Covid originating from US labs. Of course China won’t miss the opportunity,” she said.

China has refused to condemn close ally Russia over the bloody invasion of Ukraine and lagged behind many other countries in providing humanitarian aid to the war-stricken country.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has accused China of giving political backing to Russia as it invades Ukraine by "spreading blatant lies", and warned Beijing against providing material support to Moscow's war effort.

China must "live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council, refrain from supporting Russia's war effort, and join the rest of the world in calling for an immediate, peaceful end to this war," he said.

But Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that "accusing China of spreading false information about Ukraine is itself spreading disinformation".

Also read | Ukraine crisis: China accuses NATO of pushing Russia to 'breaking point'

"China's position is consistent with the wishes of most countries... any unwarranted accusations and suspicions against China will be defeated," he said at a routine briefing Thursday. 

"We have always maintained that Ukraine should become a bridge between the East and West, rather than be in the frontline in a game between great powers."

In one month, the war has created more than 3.6 million refugees and caused over 970 civilian deaths, according to UN figures, and provoked a barrage of international sanctions on Russia that have crippled its economy.

US officials have accused China of signalling its "willingness" to provide military and economic aid to Russia, and said they would be "watching very closely" to see if Beijing delivers weapons. 

"China has provided Russia with political support, including by spreading blatant lies and misinformation, and allies are concerned that China could provide material support for the Russian invasion," said Stoltenberg.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Russia's relations with China were at their strongest level ever, at a time when Western nations are seeking to isolate Moscow with unprecedented sanctions over Ukraine.

Beijing has said it is willing to play a role in ceasefire mediation efforts, but so far has not committed to holding peace talks. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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