President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday rejected a Chinese call for a ceasefire in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying it would lead to the Kremlin taking ownership of its conquered territory in the sovereign nation.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Beijing’s proposal was “effectively ratification of the Russian conquest” and would “acknowledge Russia’s gains”.
“Russia would then be free to use a ceasefire to further strengthen its positions in Ukraine. Rebuild, refit and refresh their forces so they can relaunch attacks on Ukraine at a time of their choosing. We do not believe this is a step towards a just and world peace,” he told reporters on a conference call.
The White House warning comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow next week, which would be a boost for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was shunned by the international community after he invaded his neighbour.
The White House has rejected a Chinese call for a ceasefire in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as President Xi Jinping prepares to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin next week (above two leaders at a summit in Uzbekistan in September 2022)
News of Xi’s visit preceded more bad news for Putin: the International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for him on war crimes charges over his alleged involvement in child abductions from Ukraine.
The court said in a statement that Putin “would be responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of population (of children) and illegal transfer of population (of children) from the occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.
Moscow does not recognize the jurisdiction of the court, which makes it difficult to execute the warrant.
Kremlin calls court ruling ‘outrageous and unacceptable’; while Ukraine welcomed the decision and said “the wheels of justice are turning”.
China has tried to portray itself as a neutral party in the Russia-Ukraine conflict before, but that stance is losing credibility amid Xi’s meetings with Putin.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Putin and Xi would have a one-on-one meeting over an informal dinner on Monday. Then on Tuesday the The leaders’ talks will focus on “deepening” relations and “strategic cooperation” between the two regimes, the Kremlin said.
The Chinese leader last visited Russia in 2019, although Putin attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year.
The two also met at a regional security rally in Uzbekistan in September.
Meanwhile, the White House called on China to reach out to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
And Kirby has expressed doubts about Beijing’s motive for peace.
“We are deeply concerned about this because of what it actually means in terms of benefits for Russia, at the expense of Ukraine.” This is why we express these concerns even before the visit. Because it would be a classic piece of China’s playbook,” he noted.
“We just know that it is possible that they will raise this idea of a ceasefire and present themselves as peacemakers and the only ones to ask for an end to the fighting.” We have deep concerns about this,” he said.
Ukrainian servicemen ride atop a tank near a front line
President Joe Biden’s administration has rejected China’s Russia-Ukraine peace proposal
Kirby said the administration remained concerned that China would provide Russia with lethal weapons in its fight, but noted that it had seen no evidence that plans were underway to do so.
“We still don’t believe they took it off the table, but we also haven’t seen any confirmatory indication that they made the decision to go in that direction or actually delivered anything.” , did he declare.
“We don’t want anyone doing anything that will help Putin kill more Ukrainians. Period,” he added.
And he had no indication of when Biden and Xi will hold a long-promised phone call as tensions between Washington and Beijing remain high.
“Although the president has made it clear that he would like to look forward to another opportunity to speak with President Xi, we are not actively engaged in the logistics of the set-up at this time,” Kirby said. “But I think you’ll see more work being applied to that, you know, in the days to come.”
During their meeting, Xi and Putin will discuss “issues of the further development of a comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China”, as well as an exchange of views “in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
The two leaders will also sign “important bilateral documents”, the statement said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wants Russia to leave the territory it has taken since its invasion and leave the Crimean peninsula, which it annexed in 2014
Medical workers unload a stretcher with an injured civilian patient from a train upon arrival from eastern Ukraine
Beijing also condemned Western sanctions and accused NATO and the United States of provoking Russia.
Moreover, China has said that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected, but it is unclear whether Beijing supports Russia’s claim to seize Ukrainian territory.
Kiev wants Russia to withdraw from areas taken since its full-scale February 2022 invasion. And Zelensky also demanded that Russia also withdraw from the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014 in a move denounced by the major part of the world as illegal.
Putin showed no signs of backing down.