China calls for calm as Russian move escalates Ukraine crisis
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called on all parties in the Ukraine issue to remain calm, ease tensions and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiations.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a daily press briefing in Beijing.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a telephone conversation with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier in the day, expounding China's stance on the Ukraine crisis.
"China is concerned about the evolving situation in Ukraine, and China's position on the Ukraine issue is consistent," the spokesperson quoted the foreign minister as saying, noting that the legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected, and the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter should be upheld.
He said the current situation in Ukraine is closely related to the delay in the effective implementation of the new Minsk Agreements, and China will continue to make contacts with all relevant parties according to the merits of the matter itself.
China once again calls on all parties to exercise restraint, realize the importance of implementing the "indivisibility of security" principle, ease tensions and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiations as the situation in Ukraine is getting worse, the spokesperson said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed two decrees recognizing "the Lugansk People's Republic" and "the Donetsk People's Republic" as independent and sovereign states.
"I consider it necessary to make a long overdue decision – to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the DPR and the LPR," Putin said in a televised address to the nation.
The crisis of European security occurred due to the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has led to the loss of mutual trust with Russia, Putin stressed.
He called it just "a matter of time" for NATO to accept Ukraine as a member state and then build facilities on its territory so that the level of military threats to Russia will rise dramatically.
As Moscow asked the US and NATO for security guarantees, the Western countries precisely ignored Russia's fundamental concerns and nothing has changed in their position, Putin noted.
In such a condition, Russia "has every right to take retaliatory measures to ensure its own security," the president said.
Russia's move caused a diplomatic and economic backlash on Tuesday after Putin ordered his forces into Ukraine to secure the two regions.
Germany announced that it was halting certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and said the European Union would adopt "robust and massive" economic sanctions.
Britain slapped sanctions on five Russian banks and three billionaires, in what Prime Minister Boris Johnson called "the first barrage" of measures in response to the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine.
The five banks targeted – Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank – and three people sanctioned will see any UK assets frozen.
The individuals concerned – Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg – will be banned from traveling to Britain and all United Kingdom individuals and entities will be banned from dealing with them and the banks.
The US will also impose sanctions on Moscow, a White House spokesperson said on Tuesday without giving details.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday expressed deep concern over Russia's move on Donetsk and Lugansk.
The UN chief called for "peaceful settlement" of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, in accordance with the Minsk Agreements.
"The secretary-general considers the decision of the Russian Federation to be a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations," said the statement.
China's permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, on Monday called on all parties to seek "reasonable solutions."
"We welcome and encourage every effort for a diplomatic solution, and call on all parties concerned to continue dialogue and consultation, and seek reasonable solutions to address each other's concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect," Zhang told the Security Council emergency meeting, called at the request of Kiev, the US, five European nations and Mexico.
"China has been paying close attention to the latest development of the situation in Ukraine. We have fully elaborated on our position at the previous two meetings of the Security Council," Zhang said.