US says China’s support for Russia over Ukraine puts it on ‘wrong side of history’

Xi Jinping has assured Vladimir Putin of China’s support on Russian “sovereignty and security”, after Washington warned Beijing that it would risk ending up on the “wrong side of history”.

China refuses to condemn Moscow invasion Ukraine And he has been accused of providing diplomatic cover for Russia by subverting Western sanctions and arms sales to Kyiv.

China “willing to continue to offer mutual support” [to Russia] on issues relating to core interests and major concerns such as sovereignty and security,” state broadcaster CCTV told Xi during a call with Putin.

It was the second alleged call between the two leaders since Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

According to CCTV, Xi praised the “good pace of development” in bilateral relations since the beginning of the year “in the face of global turmoil and changes”.

Xi reportedly said Beijing was ready to “intensify strategic coordination between the two countries”.

The Kremlin said the two leaders had agreed to increase economic cooperation in the face of “illegal” Western sanctions.

“It was agreed to expand cooperation in the energy, financial, industrial, transport and other sectors, taking into account the state of the global economy, which has become more complicated due to the illegal sanctions policy of the West,” the Kremlin said. Phone call.

But the United States swiftly mounted a frosty retaliation for Beijing’s expressed alignment with Moscow.

“China claims to be neutral, but its behavior makes clear that it is still investing in closer ties with Russia,” a US State Department spokesman said.

The official added that Washington was “closely monitoring China’s activities”, including nearly four months into Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Asian giant “still echoing Russian propaganda around the world” and in Ukraine. Moscow’s atrocities were suggested to have been “staged”.

“Nations that are on the side of Vladimir Putin will inevitably find themselves on the wrong side of history.”

The West has adopted unprecedented sanctions against Russia in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, and Moscow believes that Europe and the United States have thus caused a global economic downturn.

Moscow is also looking for new markets and suppliers to replace major foreign firms that left Russia after the invasion.

The European Union and the US have warned that any support from Beijing for Russia’s war, or Moscow’s help to dodge Western sanctions will damage ties.

Once bitter enemies of the Cold War, Beijing and Moscow have in recent years stepped up cooperation in what they see as US global domination.

The pair have come close in the political, business and military spheres, in what they call a “no boundaries” relationship.

Last week he unveiled the first road bridge connecting the two countries, connecting the far eastern Russian city of Blagoveshchensk with the northern Chinese city of Hehe.

The leaders’ call on Wednesday fell on Xi’s 69th birthday and was his first informed communication since Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing is Moscow’s biggest trading partner, with trade volume reaching $147bn last year, according to Chinese customs data.