US Opposes Chinese Cease-Fire Proposal in Ukraine

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Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week and a subsequent phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the White House is rejecting Beijing’s offer of a ceasefire in Ukraine.

In an interview with Granthshala on Friday, John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, said, “We will be concerned coming out of this meeting that there has been some sort of call for a ceasefire.” “While a ceasefire sounds nice, it actually confirms Russia’s advantage on the ground.”

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Putin’s foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said earlier on Friday that talks with Xi could lead to new approaches to the war in Ukraine.

“I am sure our leader and the Chinese leader will exchange their assessments of the situation there,” he said. “We’ll see what ideas emerge after that.”


Kirby suggested that the ceasefire could provide Moscow with an opportunity to prepare for a more effective attack on Ukraine in the future. A ceasefire at this point, he said, “does not serve Ukraine’s interests” and “would be a violation of the UN Charter” because it would shy away from recognition that Russia is illegally inside Ukraine.

Zelensky cautiously welcomed Beijing’s involvement, saying success would depend on actions, not words.

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last month beijing released it 12-point frame For a political settlement in Ukraine, called for “direct talks as soon as possible” to reach a “comprehensive ceasefire”.

The document lacked specifics about resolving Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian territory or security guarantees for Ukraine. It did not call for the withdrawal of Russian forces.

sugar motive

By proposing a ceasefire, the Chinese are trying to “salve something for Putin,” said David Kramer, executive director of the George W. Bush Institute.

“The Russian army is not doing well,” he told Granthshala. “And we don’t need Chinese intervention at this point.”

Not all observers have been quick to dismiss Beijing’s diplomatic efforts. Given that Putin has burned his bridges with the West and become more dependent on China, Xi may have a better chance of making peace, said George Beebe, director of grand strategy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. said, a think tank that advocates restraint in US foreign policy.

“He has limited room for maneuver[ing] in completely ruling out Chinese involvement,” Beebe told Granthshala.

On the Ukrainian side, Beebe said that while they are not dependent on Beijing, they feel China is potentially an important wild card. Zelensky would like to join with Xi to prevent Beijing from supporting Putin militarily, which could change the outcome of the war.

slim chances

At this point the prospects of a ceasefire acceptable to the warring parties are slim.

recent elections show that 85% of Ukrainians believe that no territorial concessions are acceptable, even if it means a longer war. Kiev is demanding that Russia withdraw from its February 2022 invasion as well as territories taken from the Crimean peninsula, which Putin illegally annexed in 2014.

Meanwhile, Moscow would oppose any ceasefire that would require it to withdraw from newly occupied Ukrainian territories, said James Acton, co-director of the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. It is even less likely to agree to withdraw from Crimea.

“It’s held since 2014,” Acton told Granthshala. “This is a great achievement of Putin’s rule.”

Despite no prospect of a concrete outcome, the announcement of the meeting with Xi gave Putin a diplomatic boost on the same day the International Criminal Court announced it wanted to prosecute the Russian leader for alleged war crimes.

Because of the warrant, should Putin travel to a country that is party to the ICC, that country has a legal obligation to arrest him and surrender him to the court, ICC President Piotr Hofmanski told Granthshala.

growing diplomatic ambitions

Xi’s planned trip to Moscow is the latest sign of the Chinese leader’s growing diplomatic ambition, following last week’s announcement of a Beijing-brokered deal that allowed Iran and Saudi Arabia to re-establish diplomatic ties after seven years of hostility.

Moritz Rudolph, a fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School, said China is signaling that it wants to engage in any future peace process.

“Part of this is to be perceived as an ‘internationally responsible great power’,” he told Granthshala.

This makes Washington uneasy. Beebe said, “I don’t think the United States wants to be in a position where China develops a worldwide reputation for being a peacemaker.”

Kirby stressed that the administration’s opposition to the ceasefire is not because it was proposed by China.

“I’ve been very clear. It’s about the principle of a ceasefire called for now, which will essentially confirm Russia’s advantage,” he said.

US Opposes Chinese Cease-Fire Proposal in Ukraine

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