China praises Russia for preventing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi praised Russia for its efforts to “prevent a large-scale humanitarian crisis in Ukraine” and said the relationship between China and Russia “maintained the right direction of progress” during the war in Eastern Europe. .

Wang met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Anhui province on Wednesday during Lavrov’s first visit to the country since the invasion of Ukraine last month.

At the meeting, Wang told Lavrov that Moscow had Beijing’s support in its efforts to continue peace talks with Ukraine, and said the country “supports the efforts of Russia and other relevant parties to prevent a large-scale humanitarian crisis.” “.

Relations between China and Russia have come under international scrutiny in recent weeks as China emerged as an ally at a time when the rest of the world united in condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin and punishing the Russian economy.

On Wednesday, Wang said that “China-Russia relations have withstood the new test of changing international dynamics, maintained the right direction of progress and demonstrated a tenacious momentum for development,” state media CGTN said.

This screengrab, taken on March 30, 2022 from video by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) via AFPTV, shows Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on his first visit to China since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine launched in February, to meet in Huangshan in China’s Anhui province.

“In the long term, we must learn the lessons of the Ukraine crisis, respect all legitimate concerns in accordance with the principle of indivisible security and mutual respect, and pursue long-term stability in Europe through a balanced, effective and sustainable European security in mechanism,” Wang told Lavrov.

CGTN reported that Lavrov had informed his Chinese counterpart that “Russia is determined to de-escalate tensions and continue to conduct peace talks with Ukraine and maintain communications with the international community.”

While Russia has vowed to “reduce” its military operations in Ukraine, Ukrainian and US officials have expressed doubts about the reality of Russian troops moving out of cities such as Ukraine’s capital Kiev.

After the meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement confirming that Wang and Lavrov were talking about Ukraine, as well as Afghanistan – the country where China hosts the two days of meetings.

Representatives from the Taliban, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are also expected to attend the meeting in China.

The US has warned China about helping Russia evade sanctions imposed by NATO countries.

“We are communicating directly, privately with Beijing, that there will be absolutely ramifications for large-scale sanctions evasion attempts or aid to Russia to complement them,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters earlier this month. cnn. “We will not allow this to continue and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country anywhere in the world.”

Taiwanese officials have said China is committed to protecting Russia for fear that losing the war in Ukraine could lead to the country’s collapse, with Russia effectively abandoning China in its bid to build a strong front. against western countries.

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