President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday rejected a Chinese call for a ceasefire in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying it would result in the Kremlin taking ownership of its conquered territory in the sovereign nation.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Beijing’s proposal is “effectively ratifying the Russian conquest” and would “recognize Russia’s achievements.”
Russia would then be free to use a ceasefire to only further entrench their positions in Ukraine. To rebuild, adapt and refresh their armed forces so that they can resume strikes against Ukraine at a time chosen by them. We do not believe this is a step towards a just and global peace,” he told reporters during a briefing.
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 invading his neighbour.
The White House rejected a Chinese call for a ceasefire on Russia’s invasion of 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 before more bad news for Putin: The International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for him on war crimes charges over his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of children from Ukraine.
The court said in a statement that Putin is “allegedly responsible for the war crime of the unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of the unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”
Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction, making it unclear how the order will be executed.
The Kremlin condemned the court’s decision as “outrageous and unacceptable”; while Ukraine applauded the decision, saying “the wheels of justice are turning.”
China has previously tried to portray itself as a neutral side in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but that position loses credibility during Xi’s meetings with Putin.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Putin and Xi would have a one-on-one meeting over an informal dinner on Monday. Then, on Tuesday, the Talks between the leaders will focus on the “deeper” relationship and “strategic cooperation” of the two regimes, the Kremlin said.
The Chinese leader last visited Russia in 2019, although Putin attended the Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony last year.
The two men also met at a regional security meeting in Uzbekistan in September.
Meanwhile, the White House called on China to contact Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
And Kirby expressed doubts about Beijing’s motive for peace.
“We are very concerned about that because of what it actually means in terms of benefiting Russia at the expense of Ukraine. That is why we express these concerns before the visit. Because it would be a classic part of China’s playbook,” he noted.
“We just know that there is a possibility that they will push this idea of a ceasefire and pose as peacemakers and the only ones calling for the fighting to stop. We are very concerned about that,” he said.
Ukrainian soldiers ride on top 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 government remained concerned that China would supply deadly weapons to Russia in its fight, but noted that they had not 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 indication that they’ve made a decision to move in that direction or actually provided anything,” he said.
“We don’t want anyone to do anything that will allow Putin to kill more Ukrainians. Period,” he added.
And he had no 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 that he looks forward to another opportunity to speak with President Xi, we are not actively involved in the logistics of setting that up right now,” Kirby said. “But I think you’ll see more work on that in the next few days, you know.”
During their meeting, Xi and Putin will discuss “issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China,” and exchange views “in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation 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 to leave territory it has occupied since the invasion and leave the Crimean peninsula, which it annexed in 2014.
Medical workers unload a stretcher with an injured civilian patient from a train upon its arrival from eastern Ukraine
Beijing has also condemned Western sanctions and accused NATO and the United States of provoking Russia.
In addition, China has said that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected, but it is unclear whether Beijing supports Russia’s claim to seize Ukrainian territory.
Kiev wants Russia to withdraw from areas seized since the full-scale invasion in February 2022. And Zelensky has also demanded that Russia also withdraw from the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014 in a move that has been widely accepted by most of the world was declared illegal.
Putin has shown no signs of withdrawing.