Xi, Putin back ‘peace talks’ for Ukraine war — but blame NATO and make no offer to withdraw
China’s President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for “peace talks” and “responsible dialogue” over Ukraine in a joint statement with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin — but also criticized sanctions, blamed NATO expansion for the conflict and made no offer to withdraw invading forces.
Released on the second day of Xi’s state visit to Moscow, which has so far underscored his close friendship with Putin, Xi’s joint statement with the Russian leader shows Beijing’s wholesale adoption of Russia’s narratives.
“Russia reiterates efforts to resume peace talks as soon as possible, which is praised by the Chinese side,” said the statement, carried by China’s Xinhua news agency. “Russia welcomes China’s willingness to play a constructive role in resolving the Ukraine crisis through political and diplomatic means.”
Reverting to the Kremlin line that NATO expansion sparked the conflict — rather than Russian aggression against a democratic neighbor, whose independence it resents — Xi and Putin proclaimed: “Both sides oppose any countries or national blocs jeopardizing the reasonable security interests of other nations in the quest for military, political or other forms of superiorities.”
The resolution of the Ukraine “crisis,” according to the two countries, which wouldn’t call it a war, “shall respect all countries’ reasonable security concerns and prevent the formation of bloc confrontation.”
Putin and Xi called on “the international community to support constructive efforts” toward “responsible dialogue.”
“Both sides call for a halt to any moves that could cause tension and continue the warfare, in order to avoid the crisis deteriorating, if not getting out of control,” the statement added.
Unsurprisingly, Beijing made no mention in the statement of providing military support to Moscow, despite recent evidence — including reporting by POLITICO — showing Chinese companies’ moves to send arms to Russia.
Xi also didn’t repeat his opposition to the use of nuclear threats in this latest statement, contrary to a call he made while meeting European leaders, such as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
There’s also no mention of a ceasefire, let alone a complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territories as demanded by Kyiv and the West.
The statement on Ukraine was signed after Xi and Putin conducted talks over a broad range of issues at the Kremlin on Tuesday.
“Xi pointed out that … China-Russia relations have maintained a momentum of robust, sound and steady growth. The two countries have enjoyed deepening political mutual trust, convergence of interests, and understanding between the peoples, and have advanced cooperation on trade, investment and energy, and on exchanges at people-to-people and sub-national levels,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. “China-Russia cooperation is covering more areas, building greater consensus and delivering early harvests. More cooperation is being comprehensively advanced.”