Ukraine: Xi Jinping criticizes “expansion of military alliances”

BEIJING | A new veiled support for Russia: Chinese President Xi Jinping lashed out at a Brics meeting on Wednesday for “the expansion of military alliances” he says are responsible for the crisis in Ukraine.

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Beijing on Thursday will host the virtual summit of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), an influential group of emerging economies that represent more than 40% of the world’s population and nearly a quarter of the planet’s GDP.

Three of its members – China, India and South Africa – abstained from voting on a UN resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing and New Delhi in particular maintain close diplomatic relations with Moscow and are increasingly buying oil there.

“Humanity has known the devastation of two world wars and the dark fog of Cold War confrontation,” Xi Jinping said in an online speech on the sidelines of the summit, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

“This painful history shows that the confrontation between hegemonic blocs (…) will not bring peace and security, only war and conflict,” he stressed.

“The crisis in Ukraine is another wake-up call for the world: blind faith in a position of strength, the expansion of military alliances and the pursuit of one’s own security at the expense of the security of other countries inevitably lead to a security stalemate.

Statements that appear to be an implicit reference to NATO and the United States on the part of the Chinese President.


Xi Jinping made the remarks via video conference at the opening of the Brics economic forum on Wednesday, organized on the sidelines of the summit, which Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended virtually.

China refuses to use the word “invasion” to describe Russian intervention. She blames most of the blame on the United States, which has been accused of pushing NATO to expand ever further into Russia.

A few days before a meeting of the G7 leaders in Germany on Wednesday, Xi Jinping also castigated the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, which have been described as a “boomerang and a double-edged sword”.

In a phone call last week, he had already assured Vladimir Putin that Beijing would continue to support Moscow in matters of “sovereignty” and “security”.

The United States responded by urging China not to be “on the wrong side of history.”

South Africa has also refused to condemn Russian military action in Ukraine in a bid to maintain its vital economic ties with Russia.

The Brics Summit is scheduled to open virtually on Thursday with Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Brazilian Presidents Jair Bolsonaro and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


The event comes at a time when the Russian army is continuing its offensive against Ukraine launched by Vladimir Putin on February 24.

“I don’t expect anything significant from this summit, but given the international context, it has symbolic value,” New Delhi-based analyst Manoj Joshia told AFP.

“With the war in Ukraine, the world is divided between East and West, and the Brics offer an opportunity for Putin, who is seen as a villain, to stand alongside third world leaders,” he points out.

“It sends a message to the United States and the European Union that they have failed to isolate him and Russia.”

Since late February, both China and India have significantly increased their imports of Russian oil, allowing Russia to offset the fall in western demand.

According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), exports to China increased significantly between February and May (1.6 million bbl/d vs. 2.0).

The phenomenon is even more pronounced for India (0.1 versus 0.9).

Former Cold War rivals Beijing and Moscow have increased economic, diplomatic and military cooperation in recent years. They regularly form a united front against Washington, which has been accused of “hegemony”.

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