Senior officials in Moscow and Kyiv must sit down at the negotiating table to pave the way for de-escalation of aggression, one of Beijing’s top diplomats says, as Russian armed forces continue to attack Ukraine.
Speaking at an emergency session on Monday, China’s permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, explained how he believed tensions between the two former Soviet republics could be eased.
“The most important thing now is to resume the path of diplomatic negotiations and [create] a political settlement as soon as possible to help defuse the situation,” he claimed.
According to the diplomat, “China supports direct dialogue and negotiation between Russia and Ukraine,” which he insists is the definitive way to resolve the conflict. Zhang also said the international community should “prioritizing regional peace, stability and universal security for all”.
His remarks come after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military action against Ukraine last Thursday. It came just hours after the leaders of the newly recognized Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics appealed to the Kremlin for help in what they believed to be a spike in “aggression” from Kyiv.
Putin insisted that the offensive aims to “demilitarize” the country and rid it of “Nazi” elements. Shortly after the Russian President’s televised address, a series of explosions hit military installations and strategic airfields in Ukraine.
Several explosions have been reported across the country since, with footage circulating online claiming to show a large explosion at the Kharkov regional government headquarters on Tuesday. A number of online commentators claim it was the result of a Russian strike, while others claim the missile came from the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Beijing has previously accused the United States of stoking hostilities that led to Moscow’s incursion into its neighbor. Speaking last Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called Washington officials “the [main] guilty of the current tensions.
“If someone continues to pour oil on the flames while accusing others of not doing their best to put out the fire, that kind of behavior is clearly irresponsible and immoral,” Hua affirmed.
Last month, Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping issued a joint statement calling for a halt to NATO expansion, which Moscow vehemently opposes and has tried to rule out by securing security guarantees of the US-led military bloc.