Russia-Ukraine tensions: China criticizes sanctions against Russia

Russia-Ukraine tensions: China criticizes sanctions against Russia
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying attends a news conference in Beijing, China January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

The backstory:

  • Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine (a former Soviet state) back in 2014, which caused it to be kicked out of the international military alliance, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Today, there are an estimated 100,000 troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border, worrying people that Russia is looking to invade again, eight years after the first invasion.
  • Russia denies it intends to invade and says that the troops have been positioned there for self-defense. Meanwhile, they’ve sent some demands to the West, including banning Ukraine from ever entering NATO.
  • The United States responded by writing to Russia, saying that they wouldn’t ban Ukraine but would find ways to work with Russia where appropriate.
  • On Monday, in a televised address, Russian President Putin recognized two Russian-backed separatist regions in Ukraine and then ordered the Russian army into the area to “keep the peace.”
  • Putin described the country as an essential part of Russia’s history and added that he was confident that the Russian public would support his decision.
  • Since Russia’s move, the US, the United Kingdom and the European Union have all announced new sanctions against the country, with more to come in the next few days.

The backstory:

  • At a regular press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that China didn’t see sanctions as “the best way to solve problems.”
  • She said that the US was the “culprit” in this situation and that, with the US and NATO putting weapons near China, they didn’t think “ … about the consequences of cornering a major power.”
  • Hua added that the moves from the US were both “irresponsible” and “immoral,” and the US was “adding oil to a burning house while pointing fingers at others trying to put out the fire.”
  • “Unlike the U.S. which has been sending arms, escalating tensions and hyping up the possibility of war, China has been calling on all parties to respect and value each other’s legitimate security concerns. We have been making efforts to resolve the issue through negotiations and consultations to protect regional peace and stability.”
  • China isn’t the only one to criticize the US for its moves. Russian ally Cuba called for a diplomatic solution, adding: “The US government has been threatening Russia for weeks and manipulating the international community about the dangers of an ‘imminent massive invasion’ of Ukraine. It has supplied weapons and military technology, deployed troops to several countries in the region, applied unilateral and unjust sanctions, and threatened other reprisals."

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