As tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine, China has called for a ceasefire and urged both sides to exercise restraint. The move comes as China's claims to neutrality in the conflict have been questioned, with some experts suggesting that Beijing may be quietly supporting Moscow.
China's foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, made the statement on Wednesday, calling on all parties to "immediately cease fire, stop military operations, and take effective measures to prevent the escalation of the situation." He also reiterated China's stance of non-interference in the conflict and respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
However, some experts have questioned China's claims to neutrality, pointing to its close economic ties with Russia and military cooperation between the two countries. China has also been vocal in its opposition to Western sanctions on Russia over the conflict.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been ongoing since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. In recent months, tensions have escalated, with Russia amassing troops on the border and Ukraine accusing Moscow of backing separatist rebels in the eastern Donbass region.
China's call for a ceasefire comes as the international community continues to monitor the situation closely and urge all parties to de-escalate tensions. The United States, NATO, and the European Union have all expressed their support for Ukraine and condemned Russia's actions.
As the conflict continues to unfold, the role of China in the crisis will continue to be closely watched by experts and policymakers alike.