President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday rejected a Chinese call for a ceasefire in Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, saying it would result in the Kremlin getting ownership of its conquered territory in the sovereign nation.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the proposal from Beijing is ‘effectively the ratification of Russian conquest’ and would ‘recognize Russia’s gains.’
‘Russia would be free, then, to use a ceasefire to only further entrench their positions in Ukraine. To rebuild, refit and refresh their forces so that they can restart attacks on Ukraine at a time of their choosing. We do not believe that this is a step towards a just and global peace,’ he told reporters in a briefing call.
The White House warning comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow next week, which would be a boost for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been shunned by the international community after he invaded his neighbor.
The White House rejected a Chinese call for a ceasefire in Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine as President Xi Jinping prepares to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin next week (above the two leaders at a summit in Uzbekistan in September 2022)
The announcement of Xi’s visit came ahead of more bad news for Putin: The International Criminal Court on Friday issued a warrant for his arrest for war crimes because of his alleged involvement in abductions of children from Ukraine .
The court said in a statement that Putin ‘is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.’
Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction, making it unclear how the warrant would be enforced.
The Kremlin slammed the court’s decision as ‘outrageous and unacceptable’; while Ukraine hailed the decision and said ‘the wheels of justice are turning’.
China has previously attempted to portray itself as a neutral party in the Russia-Ukraine conflict but that position is losing its credibility amid Xi’s meetings with Putin.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Putin and Xi would have a one-on-one meeting over an informal dinner Monday. Then, on Tuesday, the leaders’ talks will focus on the two regime’s ‘deepening’ relationship and ‘strategic co-operation,’ the Kremlin said.
The Chinese leader last visited Russia in 2019, though Putin attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year.
The two men also met at a regional security gathering in Uzbekistan in September.
Meanwhile, the White House called on China to reach out to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
And Kirby expressed doubts about Beijing’s motive for peace.
‘We have deep concerns about that because of what it actually means in terms of benefiting Russia, at the expense of Ukraine. So that’s why we’re expressing these concerns even before the visit. Because it would be it would be a classic part of the China playbook,’ he noted.
‘We just know that there’s a possibility that they may raise this idea of a ceasefire and couch themselves as peacemakers and the only ones calling for the fighting to stop. We have deep concerns about that,’ he said.
Ukrainian servicemen ride atop of a tank at a position near a frontline
President Joe Biden’s administration has rejected China’s proposal for peace between Russia and Ukraine
Kirby said the administration remained concerned that China would supply Russia with lethal weapons in its fight but noted they hadn’t seen any evidence that plans were in the works to do so.
‘We still don’t believe they’ve taken it off the table, but we also haven’t seen any indications any confirmation that they’ve made a decision to move in that direction or have actually provided anything,’ he said.
‘We don’t want anyone to do anything that will help Putin kill more Ukrainians. Period,’ he added.
And he didn’t have any indication of when Biden and Xi will hold a long-promised phone call as tensions between Washington and Beijing remain high.
‘While the President has made it clear he wants looks forward to another opportunity to speak with President Xi, we’re not actively engaged in the in the logistics of setting that up right now,’ Kirby said. ‘But I think you’ll seemore work being applied to that, you know, in coming days.’
In their meeting, Xi and Putin will discuss ‘issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China’, as well as exchange views ‘in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese co-operation in the international arena’, the Kremlin said in a statement.
The two leaders will also sign ‘important bilateral documents’, the statement said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wants Russia out of the territory it took since its invasion and to exit the Crimea peninsula, which it annexed in 2014
Medical workers unload from a train a stretcher with a wounded civilian patient upon his arrival from eastern Ukraine
Beijing has also condemned western sanctions and accused NATO and the United States of provoking Russia.
Additionally, China has said the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected but it’s unclear if Beijing supports Russia’ claim to seized Ukrainian territory.
Kyiv wants Russia to pull back from areas taken since its February 2022 full-scale invasion. And Zelensky also has demanded that Russia also withdraw from the peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014 in a move denounced by most of the world as illegal.
Putin has shown no signs of backing down.