Putin says he didn’t warn China before Ukraine offensive
Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed that he did not give advance notice of the military operation in Ukraine to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. There was no need, Putin said on Thursday at the Valdai Discussion Club meeting, adding that Russia and China are both sovereign nations and that Beijing has a clear understanding of the situation in Ukraine.
“No,” Putin said, when moderator Fyodor Lukyanov asked if he’d told Xi about the military operation, which started on February 24, when the two leaders met 20 days prior. Nor was Xi resentful or offended by that, the Russian president explained.
“The Chinese leader is not the type of person to take offense at anything,” Putin said, describing Xi as a “world-caliber” statesman. As for the advance warning, the Russian president said, “we don’t have such a need. We make sovereign decisions, both Russia and the People’s Republic of China.”
The government in Beijing knows what Moscow thinks of NATO’s desire to move its infrastructure to Russia’s borders, Putin said, adding that China is also aware of the causes and consequences of the US-backed coup in Kiev in 2014, and what has been happening in the Donbass ever since.
“The Chinese leadership stands for pragmatic, balanced solutions to the crisis in Ukraine by peaceful means, and we respect this position,” Putin told Lukyanov.
In the joint communique after the meeting in Beijing, the two presidents said China supported Russia’s proposal for security guarantees in Europe and called on NATO to “abandon the ideological approaches of the Cold War, to respect the sovereignty, security and interests of other states, the diversity of their civilizational and cultural and historical ways.”
After the hostilities in Ukraine escalated, China declined to follow the US and its allies in imposing sanctions against Russia and called on Moscow and Kiev to achieve peace through negotiations. Beijing reacted to US threats of “significant consequences” if China provided military or other assistance to Russia by saying it opposed “any form of unilateral sanctions that have no basis in international law.”
The Valdai Discussion Club is an annual international event, conceived in 2004 as a platform for floating ideas that Russia considers important to discuss with other global players.