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23 May, 2024 13:17

UK ‘fueling flames’ of Ukraine conflict – China

London and its allies are to blame for Moscow and Kiev being unable to reach a diplomatic solution, according to Beijing
UK ‘fueling flames’ of Ukraine conflict – China

The UK and its allies should stop “fueling” the Ukraine conflict instead of shifting the blame onto others, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday. His comments came after London accused Beijing of providing “lethal aid” to Russia in its military effort against Kiev.

UK Secretary of State for Defense Grant Shapps claimed on Wednesday that Russia and China are “collaborating on combat equipment for use in Ukraine.” Shapps further alleged that he has “new evidence” provided by the US and British intelligence services which shows “lethal aid is now flying from China to Russia.”

Responding on Thursday Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang said Beijing “condemns the groundless and irresponsible smear campaign against China by British politicians,” noting that Shapps’ remarks have not been supported by Washington. Speaking at a daily White House press briefing on Thursday, the US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Washington had not seen evidence of China directly providing weapons to Russia.

“It is the UK, not China, that is adding fuel to the flames on the Ukrainian issue... As early as two years ago, Russia and Ukraine were close to reaching an agreement on ending the conflict, but it was precisely because of the hurdles placed by the UK and other parties that the conflict continues to this day,” Wang stated. He urged London to rethink its own role in the conflict instead of “attacking China without reason.”

Wang reiterated that Beijing has “always stood on the side of peace and dialogue,” and vowed that China will continue its work to promote a diplomatic solution for the conflict.

Beijing has adhered to a policy of neutrality on the Ukraine conflict, and has firmly rebuffed Western calls to impose sanctions on Russia, opting instead to boost trade with its neighbor. This has led to accusations from the UK and its NATO allies that Beijing is fueling Russia’s military effort by supplying it with dual-use components that can be used for weapons production.

Beijing has repeatedly denied the accusations, stating that Russia and China have a right to trade. Wang earlier accused the West, which itself supplies the bulk of Kiev’s military equipment, of hypocrisy. He suggested that the US, UK, and other Western powers should work on bringing Russia and Ukraine to the negotiation table, instead of “shifting the blame” onto China for the continued hostilities.

Moscow has consistently spoken out against Western military aid for Kiev, arguing that it merely prolongs the conflict without changing its eventual outcome. During an official visit to China earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in which they reiterated their stance that the Ukraine conflict “must be resolved by political means.”