China’s Position on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
Key Events and Statements from February 21, 2022 through May 11, 2022
Below is a list of key actions and statements summarizing China’s official position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022. Items highlighted include China’s official government statements, press conferences, messages to the international community, media publications, and where available, leaked internal Chinese Communist Party (CCP) guidance for media and propaganda outlets.
(For a Timeline of key events prior to February 21 in the lead up to the invasion, visit https://www.uscc.gov/research/china-russia-interactions-leading-invasion-ukraine)
Entries are organized into the following categories:
- [Action]: Chinese government activity which impacts the conflict in Ukraine
- [Sanctions]: Chinese efforts to undermine international sanctions on Russia
- [Statement]: Statements by Chinese government officials on the Ukraine conflict
- [Media]: Chinese media stories reflecting official positions and censorship guidelines
[Timeline in reverse order, most recent event on top]
May 10, 2022
- [Action] General Secretary Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron agree on the urgent need for a ceasefire in Ukraine during a phone call. Xi repeats China’s position that France should avoid bloc confrontation, and that Europeans should take security issues “in their own hands.” The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ readout of the call includes a discussion of cooperation though venues including the China’s proposed Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative. That readout does not indicate a discussion of France’s proposed Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM), that the French Elysee’s readout includes.
- [Media] Former Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine, Gao Yusheng publishes an article on Phoenix News Media, a partially state-owned television network, claiming that Russia faces impending defeat. Gao’s statement asserts that Russia’s decline is evident in all areas, that Russia will be fully defeated, and that President Putin has relied on “fabricated history … to restore Russia’s alleged glory.” The statement was removed within a few hours.
May 9, 2022
- [Action] General Secretary Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz discuss the Ukraine war on a phone call. During the phone call, General Secretary Xi emphasizes the importance of China-Germany bilateral ties for “world peace and tranquility,” and invited Germany to participate in Xi’s proposed Global Security Initiative.
May 6, 2022
- [Sanctions] PetroChina states that it is not seeking discounted Russian oil and gas, and is only buying through existing contracts. Chief Financial Officer Chai Shouping said deals with Russia are operating normally, and that transactions continue to be settled in U.S. dollars or euros despite international sanctions against several Russian banks. PetroChina is the traded unit of China National Petroleum Corp.
- [Sanctions] Taiwan imposes export controls on goods going to Belarus. Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Wu sad that the sanctions against Belarus showed Taiwan’s solidarity with Europe. Taiwan previously implemented similar controls on Taiwanese exports to Russia on February 15, 2022.
May 5, 2022
- [Statement, Action] Chinese Ambassador to Russia, Zhang Hanhui praises the deepening China-Russia strategic cooperation on energy projects, military technology, and space issues during an interview with Tass, a Russian news agency. Zhang states that the two countries will use settlements in local currency to supplement trade in U.S. dollars and euros. Zhang explains that this cooperation aligns with the two countries’ core interests and is not aimed at any third country.
May 4, 2022
- The Guardian reports that China’s government ordered a “stress test” to study the impact of sanctions against Russia to build a policy response if China is ever the target of similar sanctions. According to The Guardian, this exercise began in late February and included several government agencies that oversee banking regulation and international trade.
May 3, 2022
- [Sanctions] The Financial Times reports that some independent oil refiners in China are stealthily buying Russian oil at a discount, refraining from publicly reporting the deals out of fear of being hit by U.S. sanctions. Independent refiners have taken over some of the purchase quotas held by China’s state-owned commodity trading firms. The FT also tracks a modest increase in Russian oil shipped to China, with some shipments massing through Europe. Shipbrokers and operators in European ports are consolidating Russian Urals crude in supertankers via ship-to-ship transfers before sending the oil to East Asia.
- [Statement] China’s Embassy in the United States publishes a list of ten “falsehoods spread by the U.S.” The article attacks criticism from the United States that China is amplifying Russian propaganda and providing support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
April 30, 2022
- [Media] Xinhua, China’s state-owned news agency, publishes two interviews, one with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the other with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba. The interviews are published an hour apart.
Xinhua asks Kuleba to evaluate China’s role in resolving the Ukraine crisis, who in response proposes that China become “one of the guarantors of Ukraine’s security” and asks China to exert influence on Russia to stop the war. Kuleba also criticizes and blames Russia for invading Ukraine and destabilizing Europe. He notes the impact of the invasion on China’s economy and food security and acknowledges that the war is not in China’s interest. He raises objections to Xinhua’s characterization of China’s wish for Ukraine to “become a bridge between East and West,” saying the “choice to follow the European path was made by the Ukrainian people… They will not agree to play the role of a buffer between East and West.”
In Xinhua’s interview with Kuleba’s Russian counterpart, Lavrov, reiterates Russian official messaging and propaganda on the war in Ukraine. Lavrov says Russia is “grateful for the balanced position of China and other BRICS partners on Ukraine” and Russia is “sharing information on the progress of negotiations with Chinese diplomats.”
- [Sanctions] Local government officials in Sichuan, Zhejiang, Heilongjiang, and Shandong provinces are expressing interest in increasing trade between local companies and Russian entities, according to reporting by Nikkei Asia. Among these efforts, Shandong provincial officials hosted a conference on March 29 featuring mechanical and electrical manufacturers from China and Russia. The Chongqing branch of the China Chamber of International Commerce has also partnered with the state-owned Bank of Kunlun to facilitate exports to Russia, according to the report. The Bank of Kunlun was previously sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2012 for providing financial services to Iranian banks.
April 29, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian says that China and Russia’s relations “rise above the model of military and political alliance in the Cold War era, and commit themselves to developing a new model of international relations on the basis of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of third countries.” He also characterizes the United States’ efforts to resettle refugees fleeing the Ukraine crisis as “staging a political stunt.” He further asserts that the United States seeks to “[continue] the conflict so that Russia will be weakened.”
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “Narrow and Selfish ‘Hegemonic Diplomacy’ that Tramples on the Rules,” which asserts that “the ‘international rules’ advocated by some U.S. politicians are actually ‘U.S. rules,’ which are arbitrarily interpreted according to the needs of U.S. hegemony.” It is the tenth commentary in the series “The Hypocrisy and Dangers of U.S. Diplomacy in Perspective,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
April 28, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin says that international rules are not “defined by a certain clique or bloc.” He also says NATO “has in recent years come to the Asia-Pacific region to throw its weight around and stir up conflicts.” His comments are in response to a question at a press conference about a speech given by UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss the day before, where she said China “will not continue to rise if they don’t play by the rules.”
- [Sanctions] China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)’s chief financial officer Xie Weizhi says that CNOOC “neither has a plan nor has taken specific actions” to purchase Russian petrochemical assets from Western companies that are exiting their Russia operations, including Shell. He says, however, that CNOOC is “closely monitoring” the developments. Xie also says that CNOOC has “no plan to exit from any particular region,” denying reporting on March 30 and April 13 that CNOOC is looking to sell its assets in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada due to concerns over future sanctions.
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “Militaristic, Peace-breaking ‘Arms Diplomacy,’” which asserts that U.S. military-industrial enterprises are profiting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “once again becoming the beneficiaries of regional conflict.” It is the ninth commentary in the series “The Hypocrisy and Dangers of U.S. Diplomacy in Perspective,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
April 27, 2022
- [Action] Chinese owned drone making company, DJI Technology Co., temporarily suspends all business activities in Russia and Ukraine while internally reassessing “compliance requirements.” DJI Technology Co. is the first major Chinese firm to stop sales in Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine, and the company says it aims to ensure that its products are not used in combat before resuming business.
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “Smearing Other Countries will Only Make One’s Own Strategy Increasingly Out of Focus,” which asserts that the U.S. criticism of China undermining the rules-based international order is false and that instead, the United States’ actions in Europe are trampling international rules. The article is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” A homophone for “Voice of China,” “Zhong Sheng is used for commentaries on major international affairs and is approved at the highest levels before publication. [Zhong Sheng]
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “‘Coercion Diplomacy’ of Kidnapping and Threats,” which asserts that the United States “bullies other countries to exert pressure on Russia.” It is the eighth commentary in the series “The Hypocrisy and Dangers of U.S. Diplomacy in Perspective,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
April 26, 2022
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “‘Fanning the Flames’ Diplomacy that Harbors Evil Intentions and Manufactures Unrest,” which accuses the United States of having evil intentions of world domination. It is the seventh commentary in the series “The Hypocrisy and Dangers of U.S. Diplomacy in Perspective,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
April 25, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin criticizes the U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price’s comment that China’s Global Security Initiative “parrots” Russia’s concept of “indivisible security,” stating that Russia’s use of the term is established in international use and the United States is unilaterally acting to oppose it. The term is used in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and 1990 Charter for a New Europe as the principle that one state should not strengthen its security at the expense of another, but does not grant one state the authority to limit another’s freedom to choose its own alliances. China applies Russia’s interpretation of the term in its Global Security Initiative which emphasizes security in Asia through balancing the interests of all states.
April 24, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi writes an article in the People’s Daily titled “Implementing Global Security Initiative to Safeguard World Peace and Tranquility,” in which Wang states that the “Cold War mentality” of engaging in “exclusive small circles” undermines global security. Wang reiterates the six points of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s proposed Global Security Initiative.
April 22, 2022
- [Sanctions] Chinese regulators, including officials from the People’s Bank of China, China’s Securities Regulatory Commission, and China’s Ministry of Finance, convene a meeting with executives from large foreign and domestic banks operating in China to discuss how to protect China’s overseas assets from U.S.-led sanctions, as the Financial Times subsequently reports on April 30, 2022. According to the Financial Times’ sources, the Chinese officials do not specify what scenario could prompt such sanctions, but a senior Ministry of Finance official says the CCP Central Committee did not anticipate the effectiveness of international sanctions against Russian dollar assets.
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian responds to a statement from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations (G7), asserting that international economic and financial institutions are not an appropriate platform to discuss the Ukraine issue. On April 20, the foreign ministers of G7 released a statement that calls on multilateral fora, including the Group of Twenty (G20), International Monetary Fund, and World Bank, to stop conducting business as usual with Russia.
- United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Secretary General of the European External Action Service Stefano Sannino release a joint statement in which they state that China’s support for the Kremlin’s illegal war against Ukraine undermines the rules based international order.
- Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu videoconferences with Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, stating that Taiwan and Ukraine are both democracies “on the front line of resisting the expansion of authoritarianism.”
April 21, 2022
- [Statement] General Secretary Xi Jinping announces a Global Security Initiative during the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference. This announcement offers few details about what the initiative will do, but accepts the Russian espoused concept of “indivisible security.”
- U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price states General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Global Security Initiative parrots the Kremlin’s view of “indivisible security,” an idea that Russia has tried to use to claim a casus belli for it’s illegal invasion.
- [Action] Chinese Special Representative to Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), Huo Yuzhen, leads a delegation to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Poland to discuss Russia’s stance on the Ukraine crisis, among other topics. Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa warns Huo Yuzhen that Chinese cooperation with Russia could risk China’s ties with the European Union.
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin answers a question on General Secretary Xi Jinping’s proposed Global Security Initiative, stating the initiative will be open for all and will seek to resolve regional hotspot issues. Wang also denies that Russia has requested military equipment form China.
- [Sanctions] Bloomberg reports that the Chinese state-owned petrochemical companies CNOOC, China National Petroleum Corporation, and Sinopec are in joint discussions to purchase Shell’s 27.5 percent stake in the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas facilities, after Shell announced it will exit major equity partnerships in Russia.
April 20, 2022
- [Statement] In a defense telephone link call with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe claims that China has not provided material support to Russia, according to an unnamed official familiar with the call. Wei also urges the United States to “refrain from using the Ukraine issue to smear and frame or exert pressure on China through threats.” Austin tells Wei there would be consequences if China gives Russia military support, according to a U.S. official who spoke with the Financial Times.
- [Sanctions] Russian newspaper RBC reports that UnionPay, China’s state-owned payments network, is refusing to cooperate with sanctioned banks in Russia, including Sberbank, in issuing UnionPay cards. Sources who spoke with RBC said that UnionPay is concerned about being hit by secondary sanctions if it cooperates with the sanctioned entities. On March 6, Sberbank and Alfa Bank announced interest in issuing bank cards that are co-badged with UnionPay. Using UnionPay, which is present in 180 countries, would allow cardholders to conduct international transactions after Visa, Mastercard, and American Express stopped processing transactions through their networks that involve cards issued in Russia or involve Russian banks, merchants, and ATMs.
April 19, 2022
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “The Discredited ‘Diplomacy of Lies,’” which asserts that the United States uses its “hegemony of public opinion” to smear China, “fabricating lies such as the ‘China knew in advance theory.’” It is the third commentary in the series “Seeing through the Hypocrisy and Dangers of U.S. Diplomacy,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.”
April 18, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Le Yucheng meets with Russia’s Ambassador to China Andrey Ivanovich Denisov, saying “No matter how the international landscape may change, China will continue to strengthen strategic coordination with Russia for win-win cooperation, jointly safeguard the common interests of the two countries, and promote the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.”
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang writes an op-ed in the National Interest, stating that China’s relationship with Russia is “still based on non-alliance, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of third countries.” He writes, “The claims about China’s prior knowledge of Russia’s military actions or China providing military aid to Russia are pure disinformation.”
April 15, 2022
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “Confusing Right and Wrong, the Bad Record of ‘Human Rights Diplomacy,’” which asserts that the United States is playing the “human rights diplomacy card” to intensify the Ukraine conflict. It is the second commentary in the series “Seeing through the Hypocrisy and Dangers of U.S. Diplomacy,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian says China and Russia are “continuing cooperation and exchange activities in science in technology.” The previous day, the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Sergeev said that the Chinese Academy of Sciences has “paused” cooperation with the Russian academy.
April 14, 2022
- [Sanctions] Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Shu Jueting says Chinese companies “must not submit to external coercion and make improper statements.” Shu says “China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interest of Chinese enterprises” in accordance with China’s Foreign Trade Law and other relevant laws and regulations, and she accuses foreign companies of “coerc[ing] Chinese companies to ‘choose sides.’”
- [Sanctions] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian comments on U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen’s remarks at an April 13 Atlantic Council event, where she urged China to leverage its “special relationship” with Russia to help end the war. Zhao states China has “made great efforts to help deescalate the situation, resolve the crisis, and rebuild peace.” Zhao also says, there is “no place for double standards in international relations.”
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi tells his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son “We cannot let the Cold War mentality return to the region and the tragedy of Ukraine be repeated around us.” Wang warns that the United States’ Indo-Pacific Strategy seeks to “create regional tension and provoke confrontation.”
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “Sanctions Diplomacy: Wielding a Big Stick and Being Unreasonable,” which asserts that the United States uses sanctions to “arbitrarily suppress other countries.” It is the first commentary in the series “Seeing through the Hypocrisy and Dangers of U.S. Diplomacy,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
April 13, 2022
- [Sanctions] China’s General Administration of Customs releases data showing China’s goods exports to Russia for March 2022 decreased by $317 million from the same month in the previous year, equivalent to a 7.7 percent decline. This trend suggests that Chinese firms may be wary of selling to Russia due to international sanctions on Russia’s economy and the volatility of the Russia ruble. China’s imports of Russian crude oil and coal fell in quantity by 14.4 percent and 30.7 percent, respectively, year-on-year. Imported quantities of liquified petroleum gas and natural gas fell modestly by 0.3 percent and 2.2 percent. Due to sharply rising commodity prices, the value of its imports in dollar terms rose in March 2022 by 26.4 percent.
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian comments on the rising price of food commodities since the Ukraine conflict began, stating that the U.S. sanctions on Russia are exacerbating food insecurity around the world.
- [Sanctions] Reuters reports that the state-owned energy company CNOOC plans to sell its “marginal and hard to manage” assets in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada due to increased concern that it could be targeted by sanctions.
- [Statement] The BRICS members, including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, reach a “common position” on the Ukraine crisis during a preparation meeting ahead of the 2022 BRICS Summit held in China later this year. The readout from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the countries wish to respect the “legitimate security concerns of all countries” and support “continued dialogue and talks between Russia and Ukraine to seek a comprehensive solution to the Ukraine issue.”
April 12, 2022
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “The U.S. is a War Monger and Profiteer,” which alleges U.S. “moguls in military-industrial, energy, and financial sectors” have profited off of the war. It is the tenth commentary in the series “Examining America’s Despicable Role on the International Stage through the Ukraine Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian comments on a poll by huangiu.com that claims 90% of Chinese netizens believe that the United States is not on the side of justice on the Ukraine conflict. Zhao claims that the conflict in Ukraine reveals the extent of U.S. hegemonic pursuits.
April 11, 2022
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “Confrontation between Blocs Is Trampling on the International Order,” which asserts the United States is undermining the international order by creating a binary narrative of ‘friend or enemy.’ The article is the tenth and final commentary in a series “Viewing American Hegemony from the Ukrainian Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” [Zhong Sheng Series]
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian states that the recent delivery of Chinese surface-to-air missiles to Serbia is not related to the situation in Ukraine.
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian comments on an opinion piece from the Hill that speculates China may expect Russia to lease or sell it land in the Russian Far East after the conflict in Ukraine ends. Zhao says both sides “have completely resolved boundary issues” and such stories “have no audience.”
- [Statement] China’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dai Bing says China “deplores” an April 8 missile attack on a train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine that killed dozens of civilians. Dai does not assign blame for the attack, saying “the relevant circumstances and specific cause of the incident must be established and verified.” U.S. President Joe Biden said Russia is responsible for the attack.
April 10, 2022
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “Pursuing Absolute Security Will Only Worsen the Security Dilemma,” which alleges NATO’s response to the war in Ukraine “exposes its nature as a tool of the United States to maintain American hegemony.” The article is the ninth commentary in the series “Viewing American Hegemony from the Ukrainian Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” [Zhong Sheng Series]
April 9, 2022
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “U.S., Willful and Arrogant Destroyer of International Rules Order,” which alleges the United States is “stepping up efforts to suppress and contain Russia instead of promoting peace talks.” It is the ninth commentary in the series “Examining America’s Despicable Role on the International Stage through the Ukraine Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
April 8, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian comments on the UN Resolution to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, asserting that the action demonstrates a double standard on human rights issues and was not conducted in a transparent manner.
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “Human Rights ‘Champion’ Is Actually a ‘False Priest,’” which alleges the United States uses human rights issues to maintain hegemony and cites Western media on how few Ukrainian refugees the United States has accepted. The article is the eighth commentary in the series “Viewing American Hegemony from the Ukrainian Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” [Zhong Sheng Series]
April 7, 2022
- [Action] China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun abstains from voting on the General Assembly’s resolution to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution passed with 92 nations voting in favor, 24 against, and 58 abstaining. Zhang states that this resolution would jeopardize peace efforts and “set [a] new dangerous precedent” for the UN governance system.
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg states “China has been unwilling to condemn Russia’s aggression. And has joined Moscow in questioning the right of nations to choose their own path.” Stoltenberg notes that this is “a systematic challenge to our security” and that NATO will “need to take account for China’s growing influence and coercive policies on the global stage.”
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “Sticking to the Cold War mentality Undermines International Security Cooperation,” which asserts the United States “sees the crisis as a way to stoke ideological rivalries and deepen Europe’s strategic dependence on the United States.” It is the seventh commentary in the series “Viewing American Hegemony from the Ukrainian Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” [Zhong Sheng Series]
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian comments on the Preparatory Committee for the Ninth Review Congress of Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) held in Geneva on April 4 – 11. Zhao notes that the United Sates is obligated to clarify the unsubstantiated accusations from Russian officials that the United States operates military biolabs in Ukraine.
April 6, 2022
- [Sanctions] Reuters reports Chinese state-owned petrochemical companies Sinopec, CNOOC, PetroChina, and Sinochem are avoiding new oil contracts with Russian suppliers. While these companies continue to carry out transactions with Russia oil exporters under existing contracts, they are worried that new spot deals “could be seen as representing [actions by] the Chinese government, and none of them wants to be singled out as a buyer of Russian oil,” according to Reuters’ source. Reuters also reports that China’s independent refiners have continued to buy Russian oil in secretive deals using “alternative payment mechanisms such as cash transfer, paying after cargo is delivered and using Chinese currency” to avoid attracting scrutiny. Bloomberg reported on March 24, 2022 that nonstate refiners have privately negotiated orders for Russian oil to be shipped in May 2022.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian criticizes the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell’s remarks to the European Parliament about the EU-China summit on April 1, 2022, where Borrell said China “did not want to talk about Ukraine.” Borrell also stated “China has an ambiguous position on this war, which requires to put plain facts on the table and to press China to do all within its power to be part of the solution to end the war. That was our primary goal, and the dialogue was everything but a dialogue. In any case, it was a dialogue of the deaf.”
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi calls his Canadian counterpart Mélanie Joly, where he states that China upholds an “objective and impartial position” on the Ukraine conflict.
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “Weaponizing the Economy will Inevitable Eat Itself,” which accuses the United States of engaging in “financial terrorism” by employing economic and financial sanctions. It is the sixth in the series “Viewing American Hegemony from the Ukrainian Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” [Zhong Sheng Series]
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian comments on U.S. imports of crude oil and mineral fertilizers from Russia in the last week, claiming the United States has increased imports while telling Europe not to buy Russian oil. Zhao also accuses the United States of profiting off of the crisis
April 5, 2022
- [Sanctions] Oleg Tishakov, a board member of Russia’s National Card Payment System (NSPK), the operator of the Mir bank card network, says NSPK has found new Chinese suppliers of microchips needed in Mir bank cards, and the organization is currently certifying these new suppliers. Tishakov says that the NSPK faces a shortage of components for issuing new Mir bank cards as their supplies from Europe have been impacted by sanctions while supplies from Asia have been hampered by pandemic-related factory shutdowns.
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun says that the killing of unarmed civilians in Bucha, Ukraine is “deeply disturbing.” In his remarks during the UN Security Council briefing, he avoids assigning blame, saying “Before the full picture is clear, all sides should exercise restraint and avoid unfounded accusations.”
- [Statement] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “Who is Deliberately Perpetuating Conflict?” which asserts the military-industrial complex in the United States is profiting from the Ukraine conflict. It is the fifth in the series titled “Viewing American Hegemony from the Ukrainian Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” [Zhong Sheng Series]
April 4, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds a phone call with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, saying “China does not seek geopolitical interests, nor will it watch the event from a safe distance while sitting idle, or add fuel to the fire.” Wang also says “China believes that the Ukrainian side has enough wisdom to independently make choices in line with the fundamental interests of its people.”
April 2, 2022
- [Sanctions] Director General of European Affairs at China’s Foreign Ministry Wang Lutong holds a press conference on the EU-China summit, saying China will continue normal trade with Russia as “China is not a related party on the crisis of Ukraine.”
April 1, 2022:
- [Action] The Times of London reports that China coordinated a large cyberattack on Ukrainian military and nuclear facilities prior to the Russian ground invasion. According to the Times reporting, the computer network exploitation attacks, designed to steal data or gain intelligence about how to exploit network vulnerabilities and disrupt defense and civilian infrastructure, targeted over 600 websites, including Ukrainian military and government networks. The cyberattacks reportedly peaked on February 23, the day before Russia invaded Ukraine. A Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) colonel who spoke with the Times stated that the cyberattacks had characteristics unique to the tools and methods used by the cyberwarfare unit of the People’s Liberation Army. A SBU spokesperson denies that the SBU provided the Times’ with official information. Nonetheless, the UK National Cyber Security Centre launches an investigation into the allegations.
- [Statement] General Secretary of the CCP Xi Jinping videoconferences with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen during the EU-China Summit. General Secretary Xi lays out China’s priorities in resolving the Ukraine crisis, saying China seeks to promote peace talks and refrain from “add[ing] fuel to the fire and heighten[ing] tensions”; prevent a humanitarian crisis; foster lasting peace in Europe and the Eurasian continent through a “balanced, effective, and sustainable security framework in Europe”; and prevent the regional conflict from magnifying. He also urges Europe to “form its own perception of China [and] adopt an independent China policy.” Michel reportedly invites General Secretary Xi to speak directly with President Zelenskyy, but he does not make a commitment during the meeting.
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “‘A Biological Military Empire’ Cannot Prove its Innocence,” which criticizes the United States for opposing the establishment of a “verification mechanism” under the Biological Weapons Convention to investigate Russian allegations that the United States is conducting chemical or biological weapons activities in Ukraine. It is the fourth in the series “Viewing American Hegemony from the Ukrainian Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” [Zhong Sheng Series]
A U.S. State Department press release said Russia’s claims “have been debunked conclusively and repeatedly over many years.”
March 31, 2022:
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi and stresses that “no one has the right to divide” the Group of 20 (G20), an intergovernmental forum comprising the world’s major economies. Wang’s comments come as the United States and its allies hold discussions about excluding Russia from G20. Indonesia currently holds the G20 chair for 2022.
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “A Cold War Mentality Leads to Destructive Consequences,” which describes the “destructive consequences” of a Cold War mentality and the “United States-led NATO” and draws a parallel between the present Ukraine crisis and the NATO bombing campaign during the 1999 Kosovo War in Yugoslavia. This commentary is the third in the series of commentaries “Viewing American Hegemony from the Ukrainian Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” [Zhong Sheng Series]
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “Arrogant and Selfish, Trampling on the Cause of International Human Rights,” which accuses the United States of violating human rights through international sanctions while masquerading as a defender of human rights. It is the seventh commentary in the series “Examining America’s Despicable Role on the International Stage through the Ukraine Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
March 30, 2022:
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Anhui Province ahead of a meeting on the Afghanistan crisis. Lavrov briefs Wang on the Russia-Ukraine talks, and both parties reiterate the strength and resiliency of China-Russia relations.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin comments on a potential Russia-Ukraine peace deal, while avoiding a direct answer to the question of whether China would serve as a guarantor of such a deal. Wang also qualifies Russia-Chinese cooperation as limitless with regard to the pursuit of peace, efforts to safeguard security, and opposition to hegemony.
- [Sanctions] Bloomberg and Reuters report CNOOC is considering selling its assets in the United Kingdom’s North Sea oil and gas fields, which are valued at as much as $3 billion. Industry executives who spoke with Reuters say that the sale discussion are part of a reevaluation of its global assets, and there is concern that CNOOC’s investments could be impacted by future sanctions.
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “Adding Fuel to the Fire is Creating Obstacles for the Political Solution,” which asserts the United States is using Ukraine as a “geo-strategic pawn” to contain Russia and China and suppress European autonomy. It is the second in the series of commentaries titled “Viewing American Hegemony from the Ukrainian Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” [Zhong Sheng Series]
March 29, 2022:
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary titled “The United States has an Unshirkable Responsibility for the Crisis,” which states U.S. and NATO provocations caused the conflict in Ukraine. The commentary is the first in a series of commentaries titled “Viewing American Hegemony from the Ukrainian Crisis” and is published under the penname “Zhong Sheng.” [Zhong Sheng Series]
March 28, 2022:
- [Action] The state-owned energy company Sinopec announces that it will continue to buy crude oil and gas from Russia and participate in existing joint ventures with Rosneft, a Russian state-owned energy company, and Sibur, Russia’s largest petrochemical producer in which Sinopec has a 10 percent stake. Sinopec operates an oil and gas production plant in the Volga-Ural petroleum basin with Rosneft and a petrochemical plant in East Siberia with Sibur.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin announces China’s efforts to evacuate Chinese citizens from Ukraine have “basically come to an end.” According to Wang, over 5,200 Chinese citizens have fled Ukraine for neighboring countries, 4,600 of whom returned to China on government-chartered flights.
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “The Wonton Cover-Up, Destroyer of Global Biosecurity,” which accuses the United States of hiding biological military activities in Ukraine and elsewhere from the Biological Weapons Convention. It is the sixth commentary in the series “Examining America’s Despicable Role on the International Stage through the Ukraine Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
March 25, 2022:
- [Statement] Sinopec reportedly suspends talks about a potential $500 million investment in an East Siberian petrochemical plant joint venture with Sibur, according to sources who spoke with Reuters. Sinopec also ends a gas marketing venture with Russian gas producer Novatek. Reuters also reports that Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials had instructed officials from Sinopec as well as China National Petroleum Corp and CNOOC to review their business ties and investment plans with Russian partners.
- [Statement] General Secretary Xi speaks with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the phone, expressing China’s “readiness to play a continued, constructive role” in the Ukraine crisis.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin comments on the impact of the Ukraine conflict on China’s food security and states that the situation is debilitating the already struggling world economy. Wang declines to answer the question of whether China will start buying more grain from Russia.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi travels to India to meet his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar as well as India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. While talks focus on tensions along the China-India border, the two also exchange views on Ukraine. India and China have both refrained from directly criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Wang also travels to meet senior officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nepal on the same trip. Nikkei Asia reports that Wang will meet with senior officials from 25 countries and regions through early April in a “diplomatic blitz.”
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “The Hypocritical Double Standard, and the Maker of Humanitarian Crises,” which accuses the United States of causing humanitarian disasters without accountability while pressuring others to promote peace. It is the fifth commentary in the series “Examining America’s Despicable Role on the International Stage through the Ukraine Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
March 24, 2022:
- [Statement] President Biden reportedly briefs the European Council about his March 18 call with General Secretary Xi, saying “Xi does not see Putin as an equal and has doubts about where the Russia-China relationship can go,” according to a diplomat who spoke to the South China Morning Post.
- [Action] China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun abstains from voting on the General Assembly’s resolution which criticizes Russia for creating a “dire humanitarian situation” and supports humanitarian efforts. The General Assembly adopts the resolution with 140 votes in favor, 5 against, and 38 abstentions. China opposes elements of the resolution that go beyond the “humanitarian context,” and Zhang reiterates China’s support for a competing resolution proposed by South Africa’s delegation which does not mention Russia, although this resolution is not put to a vote.
- [Media] The Global Times reports on the “Great Translation Movement”, a social media effort to translate into western languages Chinese media intended for domestic consumption in order to reveal Chinese state and media disinformation and support for Russian president Putin. The report claims these anonymous translators are “colluding with anti-China forces,” “cherry picking” content in order to malign China, and “fueling anti-Asian racism.” The Great Translation Movement posts translations and commentary on Twitter.
- [Statement] Taiwan National Security Bureau Director-General Chen Ming-tong says China is unlikely to invade Taiwan in the fall of 2022, despite a document allegedly leaked by a Russian Federal Security Service official that claims General Secretary Xi Jinping originally planned to attack the island later this year. The document asserts that "after the Ukrainian events, this window of opportunity has been closed” to General Secretary Xi and that the United States has “the opportunity to both blackmail Xi and negotiate with its competitors on favorable terms." Chen says he believes this document is part of a “cognitive warfare” strategy targeting Taiwan.
- [Sanctions] Bloomberg reports that Chinese nonstate refiners, which account for one-quarter of China’s processing capacity, continue to place new orders for oil loaded at Russia’s eastern port of Kozmino.
March 23, 2022:
- [Action] China votes in favor of a UN Security Council resolution proposed by Russia that would facilitate humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The resolution neither calls for an end to the conflict nor denounces Russia’s role in creating the humanitarian crisis. Russia is the only other country to support the resolution, causing the draft to fail. China’s Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun says that China supported the measure because it attaches “high importance to the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.”
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin comments on Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s call with former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, reiterating China’s stance that no party should conflate the Ukraine issue with the Taiwan question. Wang also says China maintains “smooth communication with relevant sides” of the Ukraine conflict, but he does not answer a question about whether General Secretary Xi will speak with President Zelensky.
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “A Habitual Liar Who Blames Others and Has Sinister Intentions,” which accuses the United States of lying about other nations in order to blame them for the consequences of U.S. actions. It is the fourth commentary in the series “Examining America’s Despicable Role on the International Stage through the Ukraine Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng]
March 22, 2022:
- Ukrainian Presidential Chief of Staff Andrei Yermak speaks at a Chatham House event on China’s potential to play a larger role in ending the conflict. Yermak states that the 1994 Budapest Memorandum failed to protect Ukraine from Russian aggression, and the Ukrainian government hopes the Chinese government will act as a security guarantor alongside other partners in a replacement security arrangement in the future. Yermak also indicates that Ukrainian President Zelensky plans to hold talks with General Secretary Xi Jinping in the near future.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin confirms that Russia and China continue normal cooperation on trade in response to a question about a recent meeting between China’s Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui and Chinese business representatives in Moscow. At this meeting, Zhang encourages Chinese heads of business in Moscow to quickly “fill the void,” referring to disruptions in Russia’s supply chains and payment methods, though he makes no direct reference to sanctions on Russia.
March 21, 2022:
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin comments on Chinese humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and confirms an additional $1.6 million (10 million renminbi (RMB)) worth of supplies to Ukraine, in addition to the $791.5 thousand (RMB 5 million) of humanitarian assistance already pledged on March 9, 2022.
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “Obsessed with Hegemony, the Scourge of Undermining World Peace and Stability,” which claims the United States has acted selfishly and caused wars and slaughter throughout its history. It is the third commentary in the series “Examining America’s Despicable Role on the International Stage through the Ukraine Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
March 20, 2022:
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang appears on CBS News’ Face the Nation and argues that China’s good relations with Russia put it in a “unique” position to mediate a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis. Qin Gang refuses to call the war an “invasion” and states that condemning Russia would be “naïve.” He also joins Phoenix TV, a pro-CCP Chinese language television network, for an interview where he says there are no restrictions on China’s cooperation with Russia, but that the two countries will cooperate to further “aims and principles established by the UN Charter.”
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi states China’s position on the Ukraine crisis is fair and claims China has always been a force for world peace. During an interview, Wang comments on the phone call between President Biden and General Secretary Xi, asserting that China’s proposed solution to the Ukraine crisis will prove to be on the right side of history.
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “The Scourge of Gangs and Gangs Disrupting Regional Peace and Stability,” which asserts the United States is dividing the world according to Cold War ideological biases. It is the second commentary in the series “Examining America’s Despicable Role on the International Stage through the Ukraine Crisis,” which is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
March 18, 2022:
- [Statement] General Secretary Xi Jinping and President Biden meet via videoconference for a two-hour discussion on the Ukraine conflict. General Secretary Xi says, “All sides need to jointly support Russia and Ukraine in having dialogue and negotiation that will produce results and lead to peace.” According to the readout from the White House, President Biden describes the “implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians.”
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian comments on civilian casualties in Ukraine, accusing the United States of hypocrisy for allegedly showing more concern for civilian life in Ukraine than in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
March 17, 2022:
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with the Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Zhang Ming. Wang emphasizes that the SCO, a geopolitical coordination platform whose members include China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, should play a “more active role” in managing security in the “region and beyond” amid the Ukraine crisis.
- [Media] The PLA Daily publishes a commentary titled “Fanning the Flames, the Initiator of Tension in Ukraine,” which accuses the United States of causing the Ukraine crisis. It is the first commentary in a series titled “Examining America’s Despicable Role on the International Stage through the Ukraine Crisis” and is published under the penname “Jun Sheng.” [Jun Sheng Series]
March 16, 2022:
- [Action] Xue Hanqin, a judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) who was first nominated to the post by China in 2010, votes against provisional measures ordering Russia to suspend its military operations in Ukraine. Out of fifteen judges, only Russian ICJ Vice-President Kirill Gevorgian joins Xue in opposing the measure.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian comments on Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s call with his Spanish counterpart, in which Wang stated China does not want U.S. sanctions on Russia to affect China. Zhao adds that China will respond to perceived bullying with strong countermeasures to ensure the United States does not undermine China’s legitimate rights and interests.
March 15, 2022:
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang pens an op-ed for the Washington Post, writing that “threats against Chinese entities and businesses [that do not comply with international sanctions], as uttered by some U.S. officials, are unacceptable.”
- [Media] The People’s Daily publishes a commentary under the penname “Zhong Sheng” that describes the United States as the “initiator of the Ukraine crisis.”
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian fields questions on the meeting in Rome between National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and top diplomat and Politburo member Yang Jiechi. He reiterates Yang’s dismay at the current situation in Ukraine and highlights China’s humanitarian assistance to Ukraine when asked about Russian attacks on civilian targets.
March 14, 2022:
- [Statement] Wang Huiyao, president of the United Front-affiliated Beijing think tank Center for China and Globalization, writes an op-ed in the New York Times reinforcing official commentary advocating for China to play a mediating role in the crisis.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi insists China is “not a party to the crisis, nor does it want sanctions to affect China” during a phone conversation with the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Manuel Albares. Wang states that China “has a right to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.”
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian fields questions on the Ukraine conflict. He rejects reports that Russia has asked China for military assistance as U.S. “disinformation” and argues against the Japanese Prime Minister’s proposal that the UN Security Council reform the council’s veto powers so that members cannot use the veto in the event of mass atrocities.
March 13, 2022:
- [Statement] China’s top diplomat and Politburo member Yang Jiechi and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan meet in Rome to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine among other topics. Sullivan says he warned Yang Jiechi “there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia.”
- [Action] The Financial Times reports that Russia has asked China for military equipment to support its invasion of Ukraine. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson dismisses the report as “disinformation.”
March 11, 2022:
- Under the approval of the People’s Bank of China, the ruble is allowed to fall more in value each day against the RMB before the central bank intervenes to stabilize the exchange rate. The RMB-ruble daily trading band now allows the rate to fluctuate 10 percent above or below the day’s opening price, widening from the 5 percent fluctuation allowed for other non-dollar exchange rates.
March 10, 2022:
- [Sanctions] U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen says there is no evidence that China “is providing Russia with any significant workaround for [U.S.] sanctions.”
- [Action] An official at Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency says that China has refused to supply Russian airlines with spare aircraft parts.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian fields questions on Russian allegations that biological weapons are being developed in laboratories in Ukraine with support from the United States and deflects questions about China’s sources of information. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refutes Chinese and Russian claims about U.S. biological weapons in Ukraine, and numerous independent media outlets confirm there is no evidence for the claims.
March 9, 2022:
- [Sanctions] The Financial Times reports that Chinese cell phone manufacturers Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo have cut back cell phone shipments to Russia by over 50 percent due to the risk that secondary sanctions could be imposed on China.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian fields questions on the Ukraine crisis, confirming that the majority of Chinese citizens in Ukraine have been evacuated and that the Red Cross Society of China will provide $791.5 thousand (RMB 5 million) worth of food and aid to Ukraine. Zhao also reiterates China’s opposition to sanctions as a means of conflict resolution, avoids a question regarding whether China had prior knowledge of Russia’s invasion. He also clarifies that Xi’s use of the word “war” during his call with French and German counterparts does not change China’s position on the conflict.
March 8, 2022:
- [Statement] General Secretary Xi Jinping holds a virtual summit with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, urging “maximum restraint” on all sides and stating that China would be willing to mediate the conflict.
- [Action] Bloomberg reports that Beijing is communicating with Chinese state-owned energy and mining companies about opportunities to pursue new investments in Russian companies or assets. The individuals Bloomberg spoke with noted that Beijing’s focus was on increasing China’s energy and food security, rather than softening the blow of international sanctions on Russia.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian fields questions on Russian allegations that biological weapons are being developed in laboratories in Ukraine with support from the United States. He claims that the United States uses these facilities to conduct biological warfare experiments and accuses the United States of obstructing the establishment of a Biological Weapons Convention verification mechanism.
March 7, 2022:
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announces that China is ready to play a “constructive role” in facilitating peace talks. He also reveals a “six point initiative” to prevent a humanitarian crisis, laying out steps the international community should take to ensure the protection of civilians and foreign nationals in Ukraine.
March 6, 2022:
- [Action, Sanctions] Several Russian banks, including Sberbank and Alfa Bank, announce interest in issuing credit cards “co-badged” between the Russian bank card network Mir and China’s state monopoly payments network UnionPay. This announcement comes after Visa, Mastercard, and American Express stated they will no longer carry out transactions involving cards issued in Russia or involving Russian banks and merchant processors. This means foreigners cannot make purchases in Russia using one of these cards, and cards issued in Russia will not work outside of Russia. Cards issued in Russia still process transactions domestically through other payment networks, primarily the Russia bank card network Mir. Using UnionPay, which is present in 180 countries, would allow cardholders to conduct international transactions. It would also require banks to install new IT infrastructure, however, which may be difficult due to other sanctions on Russia. Some Russian banks, including Gazprombank and Rosselkhozbank, currently operate the UnionPay system.
March 4, 2022:
- [Statement] Chinese National People’s Congress spokesperson Zhang Yesui answers a question about China’s Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law during a press conference. While he does not mention the international sanctions against Russia, he emphasizes China’s readiness to use the tool to respond to sanctions against Chinese entities, saying that “China does not cause trouble, but is not afraid of trouble.”
March 3, 2022:
- [Action] Local branches of Chinese state banks in Russia see an uptick in requests to open accounts. Several Chinese banks operate in Russia, including the “Big Four”: Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, and China Construction Bank.
- The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) puts all activities relating to Russia and Belarus “on hold and under review.” Although the press release did not specify who supported the measure, China is the AIIB’s largest shareholder, and holds 26.5 percent of the voting power on the executive board, where operational decisions are made. About 3 percent of its development financing has gone to Russia. The New Development Bank, the multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states, also puts new transactions in Russia on hold.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin denies a report by the New York Times that senior Chinese officials told senior Russian officials not to invade Ukraine before the end of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, claiming instead that the “decision by the U.S. to expand NATO” led to the crisis.
March 2, 2022:
- [Statement, Sanctions] China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission chairman Guo Shuqing reiterates at a State Council Information Office press conference that China disapproves of unilateral financial sanctions and that China would not participate in the sanctions. Guo says the impact of Russia-related sanctions on China’s economy is not clear but closely observed, and that the Chinese economy was resilient and stable.
- [Statement] In an interview with Caixin, Xu Yingming, deputy director of the International Market Institute with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic of the Ministry of Commerce, said the Russia-Ukraine conflict had exerted minimal impact on the China-Europe railway.
- [Action] Bloomberg reports that “top government officials” in China ordered the National Development and Reform Commission in China to direct state-owned enterprises to secure commodities such as oil and gas, iron ore, barley, and corn to safeguard against any potential supply gaps wrought by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
- [Action] China abstains from a vote at the UN General Assembly for a non-binding resolution condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and demanding an immediate withdrawal. China’s Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun says that the draft resolution “has not undergone full consultations within the whole membership. Nor does it take full consideration the history and complexity of the current crisis. It does not highlight the importance of the principle of indivisible security, or the urgency of promoting political settlement and stepping up diplomatic efforts. These are not in line with China’s consistent positions. Therefore we had no choice but to abstain in the voting.”
March 1, 2022:
- [Statement] The Chinese embassy in Kyiv announces plans to evacuate 1,700 Chinese nationals in Ukraine. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Wang Wenbin confirms a Chinese citizen in Ukraine was shot and injured while trying to evacuate.
- [Statement] Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Wang Wenbin fields questions about U.S. delegation to Taiwan and U.S. Navy destroyer passing through the Taiwan Strait. Wang states China will not be intimidated, and urges the United States to stop formal exchanges with Taiwan. He does not connect the issue to the Ukraine conflict.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks with Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Dmytro Kuleba on the phone and elaborates on “ensuring the safety of Chinese nationals in Ukraine” and urges the “Ukrainian side to assume corresponding international responsibilities.” Wang states that China supports negotiations to resolve “the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.”
February 28, 2022:
- [Action] Embattled Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing reverses decision to shut down operations in Russia after Chinese social media users criticized the firm’s alleged “loyalty to the United States and Europe.” The New York Times reports on an uptick in Chinese social media users’ support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- [Sanctions, Action] As the United States and EU impose the SWIFT ban on Russia, Russian state media boosts the narrative that Russia-China financial relations can grow closer and Russia might turn to China’s Cross-Border Interbank Payments (CIPS) messaging system, a SWIFT alternative. Some Chinese media also publishes commentary on the potential for Russia to use CIPS and work with Russia’s own messaging system, the SPFS. Neither state officials nor Chinese state media are amplifying the narrative, implying that this is not an established position.
- [Statement, Action] China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Wang Wenbin says that the country’s normal trade with Russia will continue, even after Russia is banned from financial messaging system SWIFT. Wang also states that U.S. and EU actions do not affect China’s rights to trade.
- [Action] Chinese embassy evacuates 200 Chinese students from Kyiv and 400 from Odessa to Moldova by bus.
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun makes a statement at the Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Ukraine, saying that “China does not approve of any approach that may exacerbate tensions.”
February 26, 2022:
- [Action] The Chinese embassy in Kyiv advises Chinese citizens in Ukraine to avoid revealing their nationality. The Financial Times reports that Chinese citizens in Ukraine are facing hostility from Ukrainians, noting that CGTN posted a video to Weibo of a Chinese student talking about the threats she received from Ukrainians.
February 25, 2022:
- [Sanctions] Two of China’s largest state-owned banks, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and Bank of China, stopped financing purchases of Russian commodities due to financial sanctions from countries such as the United States. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China stopped issuing dollar-denominated letters of credit, but RMB-denominated lines of credit were still available for some clients, according to a Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter. Bank of China curbed financing for Russian commodities but reportedly had not received explicit guidance from Chinese regulators.
- [Sanctions] Oil importers in China “briefly pause” new seaborne purchases of Russian crude to assess risks in cargo financing and payment. The pause is a reaction to European banks (such as ING Groep NV and Rabobank) beginning to impose restrictions on commodity-trade finance and limiting letters of credit against cargoes originating in Russia.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated China’s “basic position on the Ukraine issue.” During a call with UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, High Representative of the European Union Josep Borell, and French Diplomatic Advisor to the President Emmanuel Bonne, Wang expressed China’s support for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, but also stated, “Given NATO's five consecutive rounds of eastward expansion, Russia's legitimate security demands ought to be taken seriously and properly addressed.” The “five waves” language was also used by President Putin during his December 2021 annual news conference.
- [Action, Statement] China abstains from voting on a UN Security Council resolution on ending the Ukraine Crisis. China’s representative says he abstained because the Council should act to “defuse and not add fuel to the fire.” The resolution fails due to a Russian veto, amid 11 votes of support, and three abstentions.
- [Statement] General Secretary Xi speaks with President Putin on the phone, saying that “China decides its position based on facts.” Xi calls for negotiations to resolve the “Ukraine issue” and reiterates the call for “a balanced, effective and sustainable security mechanism” in Europe.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin responds to a question about Taiwan’s decision to sanction Russia by stating, “The Taiwan authorities won’t let go of any opportunity to chase the clout and assert themselves in a grandstanding manner. Such attempts are doomed to fail.”
[February 24, 2022: Russian forces invade Ukraine and launch artillery fire in and near the cities of Kyiv, Kherson, Donetsk, and Kharkiv after President Putin announces a “special military operation to ‘demilitarize’ its neighbour.’”]
February 24, 2022:
- [Statement] China’s embassy in Ukraine advises PRC citizens to display Chinese flags on their vehicles.
- [Statement] Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying fields questions about the Ukraine crisis in a press conference and challenges “Western media’s” use of the word “invasion” and calls Russia’s activity a “special military operation.” Hua states China will carry out normal trade with both Russia and Ukraine and states that China has not provided weapons or support to Russia.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the phone, noting the “special historical context of the Ukraine issue” and “Russia’s legitimate security concerns.” He says, “China maintains that the Cold War mentality should be completely abandoned and a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism should be finally established through dialogue and negotiation.”
February 23, 2022:
- [Action] China’s customs administration relaxes restrictions on imports of Russian wheat to allow imports of wheat from all regions of Russia. The decision was reportedly made during President Putin’s visit to Beijing earlier in the month.
- [Statement, Action] China’s ambassador to Russia, Zhang Hanhui, states China is “pleased” to see the renminbi being widely used in Russian trade, financial investment, and foreign reserves, and expressed his hopes for future bilateral negotiations on using the RMB in bilateral energy deals.
- [Statement] In a press conference, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying fields questions about the Ukraine crisis and Taiwan, and contrasts Taiwan and Ukraine by stating “Taiwan is indeed not Ukraine. Taiwan has always been an inalienable part of China’s territory.” She blamed the United States as the “culprit of current tensions surrounding Ukraine,” claiming that the U.S. has been “sending weapons to Ukraine, heightening tensions, creating panic and even hyping up the possibility of warfare.” Hua notes China’s position that “sanctions are never fundamentally effective means to solve problems.”
- [Statement] China’s ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun speaks during UN Security Council dialogue on Russian “special military operations.” Zhang says China will promote peace talks “in its own ways.” The Chinese delegate to the UN later comments on the UN General Assembly discussion of Eastern Ukraine Developments. He notes that while Beijing maintains a consistent position on sovereignty and territorial integrity, Ukraine is “tangled in a historical web”. He urges all sides to engage in dialogue.
[February 23, 2022: Russia claims that the separatist leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic request Russian military help to repel repression from the Ukrainian army.]
February 22, 2022:
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the phone, saying that “the legitimate security concerns of any country must be respected.” According to Wang, “What has happened on the Ukraine issue has much to do with the long delay in the effective implementation of the Minsk II agreements,” which is the ceasefire deal that Russia and Ukraine agreed to in February 2014.
- [Statement] Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson Wang Wenbin fields questions on Ukraine and Taiwan in a press conference and avoids drawing parallels between Russia’s claim to Ukraine and China’s claim to Taiwan.
- [Media] People’s Daily publishes a commentary under the penname Zhong Sheng alleging, with thinly veiled criticism of the United States, “individual major powers have revived the Cold War mentality and created camp confrontation.”
- [Statement] The U.S. issues the first round of economic sanctions on Russia. One of the financial institutions designated on the Specially Designated Nationals List by Treasury is located in Hong Kong and connected to a Russian state bank.
- [Statement] Chinese media guidance with detailed censorship instructions for reporting on the Russia-Ukraine conflict are allegedly leaked on Weibo by the news outlet Shimian. The guidance says not to post anything unfavorable to Russia or in favor of the west.
[February 21, 2022: President Putin says that Ukraine is an integral part of Russian history, and Russia recognizes the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent.]
(For a Timeline of key events prior to February 21 in the lead up to the invasion, visit https://www.uscc.gov/research/china-russia-interactions-leading-invasion-ukraine)