CCTV shows Russian shelling of Kyiv shopping centre
Independent TV

In the weeks since Russia started its invasion of Ukraine, China has not condemned Putin's attack nor imposed sanctions for taking action. Instead, they reportedly led the narrative that Russia was the victim and the West and Nato were villains.

Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) China analyst Jude Blanchette said: "Regardless of whether Beijing had advance warning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Chinese leader Xi Jinping's decision to issue a statement last month outlining a "no limits" partnership with Moscow was arguably the single biggest foreign policy blunder of his nearly ten years in power,"

"Xi's public declaration, coupled with Beijing's continued diplomatic support for Moscow, has undermined China's reputation and provoked renewed concerns over its global ambitions."

On the day of the invasion, Xi has also "stressed" he "respects the actions taken by the Russian leader during the current crisis," according to a statement from Russia's embassy in Beijing.

That ideology appears to be slowly shifting, however.

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China has since shown support for peace talks, and there's been a level of sympathy expressed for Ukraine for foreign audiences.

"On Ukraine, indeed the current situation there is grave, and China is deeply concerned and grieved," Premier Li Keqiang said Saturday, insisting that Russia and China had "rock-solid" relations. "The pressing task now is preventing tensions from escalating or even getting out of control."

Yet another mixed message was broadcasted days later when the Chinese ambassador to Ukraine spoke out.

"We will respect the path chosen by Ukrainians because this is the sovereign right of every nation,"

"China will never attack Ukraine. We will help, in particular in the economic direction."

Initially, in February, a Communist Party told China's state-owned media not to report anything "unfavourable to Russia." The report was allegedly accidentally published, but China media analyst Tracy Wen Lieu took to Twitter to explain how it appears to be changing.

China have now been instructed to remain strictly neutral when talking about the war.

"Under these general guidelines, each media outlet censors itself to avoid official trouble," she said.

Russia's war in Ukraine has surpassed three weeks and shows no sign of easing. It has caused devastation and destruction, with the U.N. saying more than 3.38 million people have fled the country.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

  • To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here.
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