The United States and allies are stressing that China’s neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine war is “not an option”, said US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland. During a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Nuland said, “The Chinese like to say that they are neutral in this conflict… [German] Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz and [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron talked to [Chinese President] Xi Jinping just today to impress upon the Chinese that neutrality is not an option here”.

China has sought to take a neutral stance in the Russia-Ukraine conflict but has repeatedly called against unilateral sanctions on Russia which are imposed by the West. Recently, the Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced the US for banning imports of Russian gas, oil and coal. According to Sputnik, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Beijing strongly opposes humanitarian corridors from several Ukrainian cities.

Earlier, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday underscored Beijing’s ties with Moscow. In a news conference, Wang said, “The China-Russia relationship is valued for its independence…We are determined [to keep the relationship] free from interference or discord sown by third parties.”

The Chinese Foreign Minister had referenced the countries’ joint statement about a “new era” of international relations that followed a high-profile meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in early February. The statement had also said that there was “no limits” or “forbidden areas” of cooperation without mentioning Ukraine.

According to official translation from Mandarin to English, Wang said, “It sends an unequivocal message to the world that China and Russia jointly oppose attempts to revive the Cold War mindset or provoke ideology-based confrontation”.

“The friendship between Chinese and Russian peoples is rock solid,” he added.

China to provide Ukraine with emergency supplies

Further, the Chinese Foreign Minister said that the Red Society of China would provide Ukraine with emergency supplies “as soon as possible”. Wang has also portrayed the China-Russia relationship to be separate from Beijing’s relations with Europe. He said that Beijing’s ties with Taiwan are separate from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which according to China, is a matter between two countries.

Meanwhile, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has claimed that Russian forces have lost over 12,000 personnel along with 317 tanks and around 120 artillery systems. Earlier, Russian forces also killed the mayor of Gostomel, a town near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv as they continue to capture major cities in the neighbouring country.

(Image: AP)