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HomeWorldWhite House rejects ceasefire in Ukraine ahead of Xi-Putin meeting in Moscow

White House rejects ceasefire in Ukraine ahead of Xi-Putin meeting in Moscow

The Biden administration is sounding the alarm that Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to call for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, warning that support for such a move would play in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favor.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Friday that an unconditional ceasefire that would halt Russia’s offensive in Ukraine would legitimize Moscow’s control of an estimated 17 percent of Ukraine’s territory, which was seized by force.

“A truce is now… effectively the ratification of Russian conquest,” Kirby said.

“And of course it would be another continued violation of the UN Charter.”

The White House comments come ahead of an expected summit between Xi and Putin in Moscow early next week.

Xi’s visit to Russia also comes after Beijing’s release of a “12-point peace plan” to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, but has been criticized by the US and its allies as an empty position paper that fails to hold Moscow accountable for its aggression.

Kirby urged Xi to turn to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy if the Chinese are serious about being a neutral arbiter.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Thursday he had spoken with China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, where the two discussed “the importance of the principle of territorial integrity” and underscored the importance of Zelenskyy’s “peace formula” to end the Russian war, which in part calls for Russia to withdraw its troops from all of its occupied territories in Ukraine.

Chinese officials have tried to present their stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine as neutral, but Washington, Kiev and their supporters have criticized Beijing for not condemning Moscow’s invasion and violation of Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty – a principle that China abides by when it fends off outside criticism of its intentions to subsume the democratic island of Taiwan.

And China has diplomatically and economically covered Russia’s war through its ongoing engagement with Putin and its robust trade relationship; China is a major importer of Russian oil, and Chinese companies are involved in supplying Russia’s military sector.

Kirby said it would be “part of China’s playbook” for Xi to come out of his meeting with Putin and portray Beijing as a moral arbiter calling for a ceasefire to end fighting that has claimed thousands of lives on Russia’s and Ukraine’s sides have without recognizing Moscow as the culprit.

“The rest of the world is not demanding this at this time because, as I said, it would effectively validate Russia’s geographic achievements within Ukraine and put Mr. Zelinsky at a significant disadvantage.”

And the White House has said it has privately and publicly warned Beijing not to provide lethal military aid to Putin, a move the US says is considering China but has not yet made a decision to go through with it.

“We are still as concerned as we were last week about China’s potential to supply lethal weapons and lethal capabilities to Russia,” Kirby said.

“We still don’t think they’ve taken it off the table, but we’ve also seen no sign, no confirmation that they’ve made a decision to move in that direction or actually provided anything.” We don’t think we’ve said this to the Chinese privately and to all of you publicly that this is in China’s best interest.”

Copyright 2023 Nextstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.

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