China’s Position on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
Key Events and Statements from February 21, 2022 through April 26, 2023
Below is a list of key actions and statements summarizing China’s official position on Russia’s unprovoked 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]
April 26, 2023
- [Action] General Secretary Xi Jinping speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to a readout of the call from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Xi praises Beijing’s relationship with Kyiv and claims that China will “continue to facilitate talks for peace” and send a special representative to Ukraine and other countries. South China Morning Post confirms that Beijing will send Li Hui, China’s Special Representative on Eurasian Affairs and a former Chinese ambassador to Russia, to serve as the special representative in a future meeting with Ukrainian officials and “other countries.”
According to a summary of the call from Ukraine’s presidential office, President Zelenskyy requests that Xi assist in settling security concerns around Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Both parties supported the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations for facilitating exports of Ukrainian grain, related foodstuffs, and fertilizers.
April 23, 2023
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to the European Union, Fu Cong, tells Chinese state media that Beijing’s cooperation with Europe and other nations is “endless,” just like its relations with Russia have no limits. Ambassador Fu’s comments may represent an attempt by Beijing to restore confidence among EU member states following statements made by Lu Shaye, the Chinese Ambassador to France, after Lu questioned the sovereignty of post-Soviet states on Friday, April 21, 2023.
April 21, 2023
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to France Lu Shaye says in an interview with French television network LCI that “…these ex-Soviet Union countries do not have the status, the effective [status] in international law, because there is no international agreement to materialize their status as a sovereign country.”
- Foreign ministers of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, as well as the EU’s foreign policy chief, condemn the comments and describe them as “unacceptable” and “false.” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Zelenskyy’s office, says on social media that China cannot expect itself to be taken seriously as a “major political player” if it parrots Kremlin propaganda.
On April 24, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning states at a news briefing that “China respects the status of the former Soviet republics as sovereign countries after the Soviet Union’s dissolution,” and that this is the “official position of the Chinese government.” The Chinese Embassy in Paris issues a statement the same day rejecting Ambassador Lu’s comments as “an expression of personal views during a televised debate.”
April 18, 2023
- Bloomberg reports that Russian officials “privately raised concerns” in Summer 2022 about becoming dependent on Chinese technologies following U.S. and European sanctions. A “previously unreported assessment” from the Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media states that Russian officials are concerned about companies such as Huawei dominating the Russian market and posing “a risk to the country’s information security and networks.” European officials “familiar with the document” say that the assessment was shared among the Russian General Staff of the Armed Forces and the Russian Security Council.
April 16, 2023
- [Action/Statement] In his first visit to a foreign country as Minister of Defense, Li Shangfu meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, according to South China Morning Post. According to the Washington Post, President Putin tells Minister Li that he hopes China and Russia can conduct more joint training exercises and professional exchanges. Minister Li said that China seeks to deepen its relationship to “strengthen strategic communication between the two militaries, strengthen multilateral coordination and cooperation, and make new contributions to safeguarding regional and global security and stability.”
April 14, 2023
- [Action] Reuters reports that according to Russian customs data, Chinese firm Quzhou Nova purchased $7.4 million worth of copper alloy from a Russian-annexed region of Ukraine between October 8, 2022 and March 24, 2023. Debaltsevsky Plant of Metallurgical Engineering, located in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, produces the copper alloy ingots. According to Reuters, the Russian Federal customs service cannot share information since it is confidential, and the Kremlin did not confirm if the purchase of the cooper alloy took place, claiming it has no information on the matter.
April 5, 2023
- [Action] Beijing hosts French President Emmanuel Macron and European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen. President Macron says he can count on General Secretary Xi to bring Russia “back to its senses” and get “everyone back to the negotiating table.” Reuters also notes that President Macron tells the press after his arrival to Beijing that Europe must “resist reducing trade and diplomatic ties” with China. Politico asserts, however, that during the second day of Macron’s visit on April 6, 2023, General Secretary Xi “gave no hint he would use his influence to help end the conflict.” Politico says that General Secretary Xi Jinping and the CCP “enthusiastically endorsed” Macron’s concept of strategic autonomy.
March 21, 2023
- [Action] The New York Times reports that Russia has purchased $12 million worth of drones from Chinese manufacturers, including DJI Technology and Autel, since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
- [Statement] Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin issue a joint statement outlining Beijing’s self-proclaimed “unbiased position” on the war in Ukraine. The statement also vaguely notes that the countries will commit to further studies on the proposed Power of Siberia-2 natural gas pipeline, although Putin reportedly sought a specific commitment from Xi on constructing the pipeline, according to the Financial Times. Additionally, General Secretary Xi invites President Putin to come to China “at a convenient time” in 2023.
March 20, 2023
- [Action/Statement] Reuters reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping for a dinner at the Kremlin, holding informal talks that lasted over four hours. Reuters also notes that General Secretary Xi’s decision to make the visit takes place despite an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant issued on Friday, March 17 that accuses Putin of war crimes for deporting children from Ukraine. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin says during a press conference that the ICC “needs to take an objective and just position, respect the jurisdictional immunity of a head of state under international law,…” and should “not engage in politicization or use double standards.”
March 16, 2023
- [Action] Politico reports that according to customs data, China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) sent 1,000 CQ-A rifles to Russia between June and December 2022. Politico also reports that Chinese companies sent 12 tons of body armor to Russia over the same time period. In November and December 2022, DJI Technology sent 12 shipments of drone parts to Russia, routing the shipments through the United Arab Emirates according to the report.
March 13, 2023
- Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping plans on speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to “people familiar with the matter.” Wall Street Journal says that the discussion would likely take place virtually following General Secretary Xi’s visit to Moscow, but China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request to comment. A Ukrainian official who spoke to the Journal states that the call is yet to be scheduled.
March 7, 2023
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang states that “currencies should not be trump cards for unilateral sanctions, still less a disguise for bullying or coercion.” Qin states that trade between China and Russia will use “whatever currency is easy to use.” An increasing share of Russian trade with China is denominated in RMB, as Russian financial institutions and businesses have struggled to access dollars and euros under Western financial sanctions.
March 1, 2023
- [Action] MMC Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company, is accepting payment denominated in Renminbi (RMB) for its sales of nickel to China, according to Bloomberg. Russian companies’ ability to transact in dollars, in which the vast majority of commodities trading is priced, have been severely curtailed under U.S. and partner countries’ financial sanctions on Russia. MMC Norilsk Nickel’s willingness to accept prices set in RMB will likely boost its sales to China. In 2022, 14 percent of Russia’s total exports were paid for in RMB, an increase from 0.4 percent at the beginning of that year. Over the same period, bilateral trade rose to $190 billion, a 30 percent increase compared to 2021.
- [Statement] Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko states that Belarus “fully supports” China’s peace proposal while visiting General Secretary Xi in Beijing. According Xinhua News Agency, both sides agree to jointly implement China’s Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative. General Secretary Xi says that “China is ready to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Belarus at multilateral fora, including the United Nations, to jointly address global challenges and build a community with a shared future for mankind.”
The Global Security Initiative, a security framework proposed by General Secretary Xi at the Boao Forum for Asia’s annual conference in April 2022, is increasingly a key part of China’s foreign engagements. This initiative endorses the concept of “indivisible security,” which Russia has cited in its negotiations over Ukraine. The concept of “indivisible security” and the Global Security Initiative are broader than the Ukraine crisis and appear to be attempts by China and Russia to coopt portions of concepts from agreements inked in the 1970s to establish, influence, or distort contemporary international norms in the security realm.
February 25, 2023
- Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns confirms in a CBS News interview that China is considering sending lethal aid to Russia to support the Kremlin’s efforts in Ukraine. He says that China has yet to decide on transferring lethal equipment to Russia, and that there are no “actual shipments of lethal equipment” found yet.
February 24, 2023
- [Action] On the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs releases “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis,” a twelve-point paper that calls for all parties to support dialogue between Russia and Ukraine to “gradually deescalate the situation.” Though it does not name the United States and Europe, it repeats criticisms of a “Cold War mentality” and the economic measures taken against Russia. Without naming Russia, the paper repeats opposition to any use of nuclear weapons and any attacks on nuclear power plants. The paper offers little by way of substantive diplomatic proposals and repeats many of Beijing’s standard positions on Ukraine.
February 23, 2023
- [Action] China’s top diplomat and CCP Politburo member Wang Yi meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders. Wang describes China-Russia relations as “rock-solid.” In a press conference later that day, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin says that the two sides agreed to “firmly oppose hegemonism and bloc confrontation,” and “jointly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter,” among other core concepts outlined in the Global Security Initiative, which the Russian government has not formally endorsed.
February 21, 2023
- [Action] China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes the Global Security Initiative Concept Paper, which elaborates on China’s “alternative” to military alliances. The paper restates the six commitments expressed last year at the Boao Forum and adds two new sections on “Priorities for Cooperation” and “Mechanisms for Cooperation.” The paper reiterates China’s position of supporting “a political settlement of hotspot issues such as the Ukraine crisis through dialogue and negotiation.”
February 19, 2023
- U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken says in an interview with CBS News that the United States has information indicating China is considering providing lethal support to Ukraine.
February 18, 2023
- [Statement] China’s top diplomat and CCP Politburo member Wang Yi delivers a speech at the Munich Security Conference, an annual conference on international security policy held in Munich, Germany. In his speech, Wang promotes General Secretary Xi’s Global Security Initiative and states, without elaborating on specifics, that “on the Ukraine issue, China’s position boils down to supporting talks for peace.”
February 17, 2023
- [Action] Officials from China’s Ministry of Commerce meet with ten Chinese independent oil refiners regarding the volume and prices of their imports of Russian oil, according to sources that spoke with Reuters. The officials refrain from offering guidance on the oil imports. One of Reuters’ sources also stated that ministry officials met earlier in February with China’s state-owned refiners to discuss the impact on Chinese exports following the February 5 expansion of the Group of Seven (G7), the EU, and Australia’s price cap mechanism, which now covers Russian refined products in addition to crude oil. The price cap is intended to reduce the revenue Russia receives from oil exports without fully cutting off supply from Russia and avoiding a spike in the price of oil.
February 14, 2023
- [Action] Reuters and Bloomberg report that Chinese state-owned petrochemical giants Sinopec, PetroChina, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) are resuming purchases of Russian crude oil. China’s major state-owned petrochemical companies had halted purchases of Russian crude after the G7, the EU, and Australia first implemented a price cap mechanism on December 5, 2022, which is aimed at limiting the revenue Russia receives on oil exports. Oil importers that purchase oil above a set price will be ineligible for shipping and services, including insurance, from G7 -based companies. However, the cargoes purchased by these Chinese refiners are purchased through trading companies that arrange payments to Russian oil producers as well as insurance and shipping, side-stepping the limitation imposed by the price cap mechanism. Oil industry consultants Energy Aspects estimate that China’s daily imports of Russian oil may rise by 500,000 barrels or more over the course of the year, reaching 2.2 million barrels per day. China’s total crude imports are projected to reach as high as 11.8 million barrels per day.
February 8, 2023
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to the European Union Fu Cong expresses concern about the West calling for Ukraine to attain a “complete victory on the battlefield” and instead suggests finding a solution “on the negotiation table” at an event hosted by the Brussels-based think tank European Policy Centre. Fu Cong also said “And we don’t believe that only providing weapons will actually solve the problem.”
- G7 member states discuss whether to sanction Chinese, Iranian, and North Korean companies for providing parts and technology to Russia for military use. Anonymous individuals familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg that the G7 member states may seek to coordinate a package of measures by February 24, 2023, on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Bloomberg. The individuals note, however, that G7 member states may take different actions and still need to decide what companies to include.
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to France Lu Shaye says in an interview with French news channel LCI that China has “not supplied weapons to Russia.” When pressed on whether Chinese companies are selling spare parts that support Russia’s war effort, Lu states “parts are not weapons, are they?” Lu states that China believes that weapons supplied by NATO countries “to one side of the war is not conducive to ending the war as soon as possible.”
February 4, 2023
- [Action] The Wall Street Journal reports that multiple Chinese state-owned and non-state companies have exported military and dual-use technology items to Russian defense companies. According to the Journal’s review of Russian import and transshipment records compiled by U.S. think tank C4ADS, these transactions include $1.2 million worth of SU-35 jet fighter components sold by Chinese state-owned aerospace firm AVIC International Holdings Corp, whose parent company Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is included on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Non-SDN Chinese Military-Industrial Complex Companies List. China also exported over $128 million in computer chips and chip components to Russia between April and October 2022, according to the Journal.
January 26, 2023
- [Action] The U.S. Treasury Department adds Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute (Spacety China) and its Luxembourg-based subsidiary to the Specially Designated National (SDN) list after it provided support to Russia’s military industrial base. Treasury asserts that Russia-based technology firm Terra Tech procured high-resolution satellite images from Spacety China to support the combat operations of Russian proxy private military company Wagner Group. Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for China’s Embassy in the United States, subsequently states that Treasury’s determination “has no factual basis, but is purely speculative and deliberately hyped up.”
- [Action] Google’s Threat Analysis Group claims that the pro-Chinese influence campaign DRAGONBRIDGE disseminated narratives about the war in Ukraine on social media in 2022. Google’s Threat Analysis Group says that DRAGONBRIDGE pushes narratives criticizing the U.S. for sending military equipment to Ukraine and “worsening the conflict.”
January 10, 2023
- [Statement] Financial Times reports that an anonymous Chinese official said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “crazy.” The official also asserts that China shouldn’t “simply follow Russia,” and acknowledges that only a handful of Russian officials made the decision to invade.
December 23, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to the European Union Fu Cong states that the Ukraine crisis has put Beijing “in a very difficult position” and hurt China’s relations with the EU during an interview with South China Morning Post. Ambassador Fu says that China sees itself as “collateral damage” of the crisis and reiterates appeals by former Chinese officials not to “read too much into the terminology” of China’s “no limits” partnership with Russia.
December 9, 2022
- [Action] Bloomberg and Reuters report that China’s independent oil refiners may be purchasing oil above a price cap on Russian crude oil that the Group of Seven industrialized nations (G7) introduced on December 5. The cargoes purchased by these Chinese refiners are likely insured and transported by Russian oil sellers, side-stepping the price cap mechanism’s proscription on G7-based companies providing shipping, insurance, and other services to purchasers that pay above the cap.
- [Statement] General Secretary Xi Jinping meets with European Council President Charles Michel in Beijing. After the meeting President Michel said in his remarks that he “urged President Xi — as we did at our EU-China Summit in April — to use his influence on Russia to respect the UN charter. A readout from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the two leaders “exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis” and that “China supports the EU in stepping up mediation efforts.”
November 29, 2022
- [Action] Newsweek reports that Russian An-124 transport aircraft visited China nine times within seven days in November. The article repeats claims in an article by the Ukrainian military news outlet Defense Express that for some flights the aircraft turned off their transponders, and that internet users speculated the cargo included military aid. On November 24, China’s state-owned news agency Xinhua reported that three Russian An-124 planes landed at Zhengzhou Airport on November 23 and that airport staff “loaded several hundred tons of cross-border e-commerce and clothing goods into the cargo hold… These items will fly directly from Zhengzhou Airport to Moscow with the cargo plane, and will soon be sent to the homes of local people.”
November 16, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says China endorses Russia’s no nuclear pledge on Ukraine at the Group of Twenty (G20) summit. According to Wang, China acknowledges that Russia reiterated its position that a nuclear war is “impossible and inadmissible” in a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Wang says, “It is a rational and responsible position from Russia” on the sidelines of the summit.
November 15, 2022
- [Statement] The Washington Post reports that during the G20 summit Indonesia, China’s delegates objected to calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “war” in a joint communique. Russia and China reportedly advocated for a different term to describe the war, according to delegates at the summit. The joint communique, the “G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration,” states that G20 leaders have “witnessed the war in Ukraine further adversely impact the global economy,” and cites UN General Assembly Resolution ES-11/1, which “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine.”
November 14, 2022
- [Action] Chinese independent and state refiners cut back on purchases of Russian crude oil as the imposition of the G-7’s price-cap mechanism on Russian oil nears, according to Reuters reporting. Speaking to reporters during the G20 Summit, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen states that China’s purchase of Russian oil would be “completely consistent” with the planned cap.
November 2, 2022
- [Action] Russian forces use Iranian-made suicide drones with Chinese knock-off parts to attack Ukrainian cities. The Shahed-131 and Shahed-136 drone use an engine by Beijing MicroPilot Flight Control Systems, which is a copy of the German aerospace company Limbach Flugmotoren’s engine design. Aside from indigenously producing the engines China also exports the designs to Iran.
October 27, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi expresses in a phone call with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov that China will firmly support Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government to help lead the Russian people to “overcome difficulties, eliminate disturbances, realize the strategic goals of development, and further establish Russia on the international stage.” Wang Yi also says that China is willing to deepen exchanges with Russia at all levels. In response, Foreign Minister Lavrov congratulates the “complete success” of the 20th Party Congress and reciprocates Wang Yi’s remarks saying that Russia is also willing to strengthen ties with China at all levels.
October 21, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin expresses China’s disagreement with the European Union’s decision to sanction three Iranian generals and an Iranian company for supplying drones to the Russian military for use in its invasion of Ukraine. On October 20, 27 governments of the European Union imposed an asset freeze and a travel ban on three Iranian generals suspected of facilitating drone delivery to Russia, as well as an asset freeze on Shahed Aviation Industries who produces the drones Russia is accused of using against Ukraine.
October 15, 2022
- [Statement] The Chinese Foreign Ministry urges its citizens to leave Ukraine and releases registration information for evacuation on its WeChat account. As of October 16, the Global Times reports that 161 Chinese citizens chose to participate in an organized evacuation, while an additional 27 people had opted for self-evacuation. On October 19, the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine issues guidance for evacuations to the neighboring states of Moldova, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
- [Statement] At the Arctic Circle Assembly, Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer says that China “doesn’t share our values and undermines the rules-based international order.” He Rulong, China’s ambassador to Iceland, says in response that Bauer’s comments are “filled with arrogance.” Bauer then says to He Rulong, “I have a question for you, because you underline the principle of sovereignty and the importance of the internationally recognized borders in the world,” Bauer continues, saying, “I am correct, isn’t that true? Yeah. So why is it possible then that China still is not condemning Russia’s attack in Ukraine?”
October 10, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning calls for de-escalation in Ukraine, stating “all countries deserve respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity” and that “support should be given to all efforts that are conducive to peacefully resolving the crisis.”
September 26, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin avoids media queries about diplomatic communications between Ukraine and China. President Zelenskyy gave an interview on September 23 to French newspaper Ouest France, where he stated that there is currently no communication channel with China.
September 22, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi outlines China’s four priorities in resolving the Ukraine conflict before the UN Security Council: providing support for negotiations; urging the de-escalation of conflict, particularly around nuclear facilities; alleviating the humanitarian crisis; and curbing the “spillover effects” of the war, such as the global food crisis. Wang maintains that China seeks to safeguard the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries,” yet still makes no statement acknowledging that Russia has invaded Ukraine’s territory and violates its integrity by occupying Crimea and portions of Eastern Ukraine.
September 21, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin that China calls “on the parties concerned to achieve a cease-fire and an end to the war through dialogue and negotiation, and find a way to take into account the legitimate security concerns of all parties,” as reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Agence France-Presse, and Al Jazeera. Although the official readout from the Foreign Ministry press conference excludes the term “cease-fire”, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning also used the phrase during a September 13 press conference.
September 18, 2022
- U.S. President Joe Biden says in an interview with 60 Minutes, “Thus far, there’s no indication [China has] put forward weapons or other things that Russia has wanted.”
September 15, 2022
- [Support] General Secretary Xi Jinping meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Uzbekistan. According to the Russian readout, Xi and Putin discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, about which Putin acknowledges that China has “questions and concerns,” while also thanking China for what Putin calls China’s “balanced position” on the invasion. The Chinese readout of the bilateral meeting does not mention a discussion of Ukraine or China’s no-limits partnership with Russia.
September 14, 2022
- Members of Ukraine’s parliament Oleksandr Merezhko and Mykola Kniazhytskyi join the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, a group of lawmakers from 30 legislatures which collaborates on policy responses to China. In a joint-communique, the alliance calls for “an export control and scrutiny mechanism which targets PRC entities that have provided support to Russia’s military and defense-industrial complex” and secondary sanctions against Chinese entities that have helped Russian entities evade international sanctions.
September 7, 2022
- [Support] China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu travels to Vladiostok to attend Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum on foreign investment in the region. Li asserts that “the political trust, strategic coordination and pragmatic cooperation between the two countries have reached new heights” and states that China fully understands and supports Russia’s need to secure its core interests, including Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
September 6, 2022
- [Sanctions] Chinese state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation agrees to pay for half of the gas it buys from Russian company Gazprom using renminbi (RMB), and will use rubles for the other half. Shifting towards gas payments denominated in rubles and RMB supports Russian efforts to stabilize the value of the ruble and reduce the use of dollars and euros when settling international transactions. Russian businesses and financial institutions have struggled to access dollars due to Western sanctions imposed in response to its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
August 30, 2022
- Chair of Ukraine’s Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation Oleksandr Merezhko states to the Voice of America that “Ukraine should seriously reconsider [its] strategic partnership” with China over China’s support for Russia. He says, “I don’t think that a strategic partner of the aggressor state can be simultaneously our strategic partner. It makes no sense.” China’s designation of Ukraine as a strategic partner indicates a lower level of cooperation than the bilateral designation China formally uses to describe its relationship with Russia, which it calls a “comprehensive strategic partner.”
August 27, 2022
- [Action] Newsweek reports that Chinese diplomats are pressuring members of Ukraine’s parliament over their membership in the Taiwan Friendship Group, a parliamentary caucus created on August 18, 2022 to promote ties with Taiwan. Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation Oleksandr Merezhko tells Newsweek that the complaints from Chinese diplomats indicate that China is “trying to dictate what a foreign parliament should do.”
August 24, 2022
- Bloomberg reports that Russia’s Ministry of Finance is considering issuing government bonds denominated in RMB, although it has not announced plans to do so in 2022. Russia has considered issuing RMB-denominated bonds since Russian companies were impacted by sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine.
August 23, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Geng Shuang notes the risk of a “serious nuclear accident” stemming from the fighting near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Geng states, “Under the current circumstances, it is necessary for the IAEA to conduct a site visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as soon as possible to make a professional and technical assessment of the safety and security situation of the nuclear facilities.”
August 18, 2022
- The research unit of SWIFT, the financial messaging system, finds that Russia’s use of RMB to settle international transactions has skyrocketed since its invasion of Ukraine. According to the monthly reports released by SWIFT, Russia surpassed Singapore as the third-largest market for overseas transactions denominated in RMB, behind Hong Kong and London. In July 2022 Russia was responsible for 3.9 percent of all payments using RMB outside of China, compared to less than 1 percent in January 2022. Russian businesses and financial institutions may be exploring opportunities to use RMB in their international transactions after international sanctions curtailed Russian banks’ access to U.S. dollars and euros.
- Fifteen members of Ukraine’s parliament form a cross-party caucus called the Taiwan Friendship Group, which is aimed at promoting closer ties with Taiwan. Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation Oleksandr Merezhko states that the group was formed in gratitude for the sanctions Taiwan has introduced against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
August 17, 2022
- [Action] China’s Ministry of Defense announces that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will participate in Russia’s annual strategic level military exercise, VOSTOK- 2022, and claims the PLA’s participation “is unrelated to the current international and regional situation.”
Note: This will be China’s fifth time participating in the Russian military’s annual strategic exercise that rotates between four regions: VOSTOK (East), TSENTR (Central), KAVKAZ (Caucasus), and ZAPAD (West). ZAPAD-2021 took place across training ranges in Russia’s Western Military District and in Belarus, and placed Russian troops near the Ukrainian border in the months leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
August 16, 2022
- [Action] Russia’s embassy in Beijing publishes and subsequently deletes a Weibo post that praises the Mavic, a drone produced by Chinese owned drone making company, DJI Technology Co., as a “true symbol of modern warfare.” DJI Technology rejects the Russian embassy’s statement and insists that their drones are “for civilian purposes and cannot meet the requirements of military specifications.” In April 2022, DJI suspended all business in Russia and Ukraine in response to concerns that the Russian army was using its drones in Ukraine and a request from Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedoroy for DJI to block the Russian military from using its drones. The United States sanctioned DJI drones in 2020 for facilitating repressive regimes and human rights abuses.
August 8, 2022
- [Sanctions] Bloomberg reports that Chinese exports to Russia in July were valued at $6.7 billion, which is comparable to the level of Chinese exports to Russia from before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Bloomberg notes that some “Chinese goods are filling the niche left by the exodus of western brands,” particularly with vehicle sales from Great Wall Motor Co. and Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, which now rank among Russia’s best-selling cars. Rising local Russian demand for Chinese currency also drove RMB-ruble currency trade to its highest ever volume in July.
August 5, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying defends Russia when asked about the U.S. Senate resolution to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. The resolution, which passed the Senate on July 27, cited Russia’s actions against innocent civilians in Ukraine, as well as in Chechnya, Georgia, and Syria.
August 4, 2022
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy states that he would like to hold a direct conversation with General Secretary of the CCP Xi Jinping. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper, Zelenskyy states that he “would really like China to review its attitude towards the Russian Federation” and “urged China to use its UN Security Council status to ‘show’ countries that they needed to comply with international norms.” Xi has not spoken with Zelenskyy since Russia invaded Ukraine.
August 3, 2022
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy states during an event at the Australian National University that he “would like China to join the unified world position” on Russia’s tyranny against Ukraine. He says, “As for now, China is balancing, and indeed has neutrality and, I will be honest, this neutrality is better than China joining Russia.”
July 29, 2022
- [Sanctions] RUSAL, a Russian aluminum producer listed on the Hong Kong and Moscow exchanges, issues the first ever RMB-denominated bond in Russia. Alexei Grenkov, Head Corporate Finance of RUSAL, explains that “the Yuan [RMB] is a good alternative to traditional foreign exchange investments” to meet the growing demand from Russian banks and private investors for financial instruments that help them circumvent sanctions and the dollar-denominated financial system. International sanctions on Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine have isolated many Russian banks from western financial institutions. Aluminum Insider reports that three Russian banks, Gazprombank, Credit Bank of Moscow, and Bank Zenit, managed the bond’s issuance.
July 28, 2022
- [Statement] U.S. President Joe Biden holds a phone call with General Secretary Xi Jinping. Per the readout from China’s Foreign Ministry, Biden and Xi exchange views on Ukraine, and Xi reiterates China’s position. This call between the two leaders is the second to take place since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
July 26, 2022
- [Action] South China Morning Post reports that China’s People’s Liberation Army has sent military tanks and a delegation to Russia to participate in Russia’s International Army Games in August. China has participated in each iteration of the International Army Games since the Russian Defense Ministry hosted the first event in 2015.
July 25, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not commented on the Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s key grain-exporting port of Odessa on July 23. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Zhao Lijian claims that China supports the U.N. brokered agreement to withhold attacks on grain-exporting facilities and civilian transport, signed by Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey on July 22.
July 24, 2022
- Financial Times reports that China has not approved any new Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) deals with Russia since Russia invaded Ukraine. This marks the first six months without a BRI deal between China and Russia since the BRI was established in 2013. In 2021, China signed $2 billion worth of BRI investment and construction deals with Russia.
July 21, 2022
- CIA director William Burns asserts that China is learning from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine lessons that may apply to an invasion of Taiwan. He notes that China recognizes the need to have an initial overwhelming force for a decisive victory, to control the information space, and to shore up its domestic economy against sanctions.
July 20, 2022
- [Sanctions] Bloomberg reports that China imported 72 percent more Russian oil and gas in June 2022 than a year earlier, amounting to $6.4 billion. China has imported $25.3 billion in Russian energy between March and June 2022. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, China has overtaken Germany as the largest purchaser of Russian oil, and in June 2022, Russia replaced Saudi Arabia as China’s largest crude oil supplier.
- [Statement, Sanctions] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin criticizes U.S. sanctions as contributing factors to economic problems including rising prices for food, crude oil, natural gas, and nonferrous metals. Wang did not comment on Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports or its impact on prices for commodities like grain.
- Taiwan’s former defense chief Lee Hsi-min states that Taiwan should emulate Ukraine’s Territory Defense Force in preparation for a potential invasion from China. Lee specifies the need to set up civilian units and distribute small, lethal weapons that are not easily targeted by long range fires in order to create a robust and asymmetric resistance to an invading force.
July 19, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian comments on U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power’s assertion that China worsened the global food crisis by hoarding grain and fertilizer. Zhao asserts that the United States is “the one who started the Ukraine crisis and the biggest factor fueling it” and claims that the United States is causing a food crisis by sanctioning Russia. He states that China contributes more than its share of official development assistance to other developing countries. The United States has contributed $2.8 billion to the World Food Program, the UN’s primary organization for food assistance, about nine hundred times more than China’s contribution of $3.2 million.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds a phone call with his Finnish counterpart. The Chinese readout states that two parties discussed the “challenges to global food and energy security brought by the spillover of the Ukraine crisis.”
July 18, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds a phone call with the diplomatic advisor to the President of France Emmanuel Bonne, where Wang states that “the Ukraine crisis has shown a long-term and complex trend, which the world does not want to see.” He says that China “appreciates President Macron’s active mediation efforts.” The Chinese readout states that Bonne “reiterated that NATO will stick to the geographical position it was founded on and has no intention and will not expand into the Asia-Pacific region.”
July 17, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds a phone call with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto, where he states that China has “always unswervingly and perseveringly promoted peace talks” in the Ukraine war. Wang says “he believes that Hungary will continue to uphold an objective and just position, and push the European Union to adopt positive and practical policies towards China.
July 15, 2022
- [Sanctions] The Wall Street Journal reports that China’s exports of microchips, other electronic components, and raw materials to Russia have more than doubled in the first five months of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. Many of these exports have military applications. The Journal states that China may be backfilling orders from Russia for defense-related components after Western nations cut off exports to Russia’s defense industrial base.
July 13, 2022
- [Statement, Sanctions] China’s customs agency spokesperson Li Kuiwen states that the customs agency has stopped publishing disaggregated data showing monthly natural gas imports by pipeline from Russia since January 2022, citing the need to protect the “legitimate commercial interests of the importers and exporters.” In 2022, China has increased its seaborne and pipeline imports of Russian oil and gas since Russia invaded Ukraine. Russian state-owned petrochemical company Gazprom, which operates the Power of Siberia pipeline between China and Russia, stated in May 2022 that natural gas exports to China rose 40 percent in the first four months of the year, compared to 2021.
July 9, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi discusses Russia’s invasion of Ukraine among other topics during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken after the Group of Twenty (G20) Foreign Ministers Meeting in Indonesia. Secretary Blinken challenges China’s claim to be neutral, stating that the United States is concerned about the PRC’s alignment with Russia, and calling on China to condemn Russian aggression.
July 7, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting. Wang repeats China’s claim to hold an “objective and impartial” position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while also confirming deepening bilateral cooperation with Russia.
July 6, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxian assures Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denislov that China is willing to deepen cooperation with Russia through multilateral frameworks. This conversation occurs two days before the states meet at the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
July 4, 2022
- U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen discusses the global economic impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine and the possibility of placing a price cap on Russian oil during a virtual meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. A price cap on Russian oil would limit Russia’s revenue from Chinese and other countries’ purchases by preventing U.S., U.K. and European institutions from providing financing or insurance to shipments of Russian oil sold above the proposed price cap. The Chinese readout of the call describes the exchanges as “constructive” but does not mention any discussion of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
June 30, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian states NATO chose to “smear China’s foreign policy and point fingers at China’s normal military posture and defense policy” in its 2022 Strategic Concept, NATO’s strategic planning document which noted China’s support for Russia in the Ukraine war. Zhao asserts that NATO “poses systemic challenges to world security and stability” and seeks to “destabilize Europe and the Asia-Pacific.”
June 29, 2022
- NATO allies adopt the 2022 Strategic Concept, which states the “deepening strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests.” NATO allies pledge to work together to “address the systemic challenges posed by the PRC to Euro-Atlantic security and ensure NATO’s enduring ability to guarantee the defense and security of Allies.”
- [Statement, Sanctions] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian states that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision on June 28 to sanction five Chinese companies over their support for Russia’s military is “another example of U.S. unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction.” The Department of Commerce included the five companies on the Entity List, which effectively prevents U.S. firms from exporting to these companies. Responding to a follow-up question from Reuters, Zhao does not evaluate whether these Chinese companies sold goods to Russian military entities, asserting “there is no basis for the U.S. to slap sanctions on Chinese companies by citing domestic laws.”
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian condemns the Leader’s Communiqué from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations (G7) summit on June 28, stating “the G7, rather than committing to solidarity and cooperation, is preoccupied with stoking division and confrontation and has shown absolutely no sense of responsibility or moral authority.” The communiqué outlines China’s disruptive economic, foreign, and security policies and calls on China “to press Russia to immediately comply with the legally binding order of the International Court of Justice of 16 March 2022 and to abide by the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly and stop its military aggression – and immediately and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine.”
June 28, 2022
- [Sanctions] The U.S. Department of Commerce adds five Chinese companies to the Entity List over their continued support of Russia’s military efforts since Russia invaded Ukraine despite export controls aimed at blocking Russia’s access to dual-use technology and equipment. The Department of Commerce also identifies two additional Chinese companies already included on the Entity List who are supplying the Russian military. The Department of Commerce stated in March 2022 that it would add any entities to the Entity List that provide support to the Russian and Belarusian security services, militaries, and defense industrial bases.
- Reuters reports that Indian companies are increasingly using renminbi (RMB) to pay for coal imports from Russia. According to an Indian customs document reviewed by Reuters, India’s UltraTech Cement purchased 157,000 tons of coal from Russia’s SUEK using RMB. An Indian government official who spoke with Reuters, stated that “the use of the yuan to settle payments for imports from countries other than China was rare until now, and could increase due to sanctions on Russia.” It may be difficult for Indian companies to acquire RMB for transactions with Russia, however, as People’s Bank of China’s interbank foreign exchange trading platform does not currently process direct exchanges of rupee for renminbi.
June 23, 2022
- [Statement] General Secretary Xi Jinping speaks at the BRICS Leaders’ Summit, which brings together the heads of state of five emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Xi urges the countries to cooperate and “jointly tackle risks and challenges.” He states “the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis has resulted in disruptions to global industrial and supply chains, sustained hikes of commodity prices, and weaker international monetary and financial systems.”
June 22, 2022
- [Statement] General Secretary Xi Jinping claims that expanding military alliances and hegemonism led to the crisis in Ukraine during a speech at the BRICS Business Forum. Xi also calls for the international community to oppose the hegemony of any one country and uses the platform to promote his proposed Global Security Initiative.
- [Statement] Russian President Putin speaks at the BRICS Business Forum, stating that business relations among BRICS countries “have intensified.” He notes that “negotiations are underway to open Indian chain stores in Russia, increase the share of Chinese cars, equipment, and hardware on our market.” Chinese officials have previously pledged to continue “normal economic and trade cooperation” despite the international sanctions on Russia’s economy.
June 20, 2022
- [Sanctions] Russia becomes China’s largest oil supplier as Chinese state-owned petrochemical companies such as Sinopec and Zhenhua Oil increased purchases of cheap Russian crude oil. Business Insider notes that Russian oil sales to China have offset lost revenue from the decline in Western imports due to Western sanctions on Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Chinese imports of Russian oil in May of 2022 increased by 55 percent from the same month the previous year, after climbing just 4 percent year-on-year in April 2022.
June 16, 2022
- [Statement] When asked why there has not been a call between the leaders of China and Ukraine, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin sidesteps the question about leaders but reaffirms that China and Ukraine “maintain open and smooth lines of communication.” Wang does not specify whether Xi intends to speak with Zelenskyy.”
June 15, 2022
- [Statement] General Secretary Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a phone call to recognize the completion of a cross-border bridge between the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk and the Chinese city of Heihe. General Secretary Xi reaffirms China’s close ties with Russia, saying “China is willing to work with Russia to continue supporting each other on their respective core interests concerning sovereignty and security.”
The Chinese readout quotes Putin as saying “Russia supports the Global Security Initiative proposed by the Chinese side.” The Russian readout of the call also states that Russia and China agree to “expand cooperation in energy, finance, the manufacturing industry, transport, and other areas, taking into account the global economic situation that has become more complicated due to the illegitimate sanctions policy pursued by the West.” These details are not included in China’s version of the readout.
June 13, 2022
- [Statement] China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi meets with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Luxembourg. According to the Chinese readout, the dialogue focuses on areas to reduce misunderstanding and miscalculation in U.S.-China relations, and the two sides also exchange views on the war in Ukraine and North Korea’s nuclear program.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin says that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who spoke on June 11 at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier security summit, did not mention Taiwan by name when responding to a question about a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Wang asserts that the “Taiwan question and the Ukraine issue are fundamentally different in nature.”
June 12, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe asserts “on the Ukraine crisis, China has never provided any material support to Russia,” noting that “China-Russia relations is a partnership, not an alliance. It does not target any third party.” He states that China does “not believe that maximum pressure or sanctions can solve the problem. If anything, they may even exacerbate tensions and further complicate the issues.”
- [Action] The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, a think tank based in Finland, estimates that China has imported 12.6 billion euro ($13.2 billion) in oil from Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine. China surpassed Germany to become the largest purchaser of Russian oil. While Germany cut back on purchases since the start of the war, China’s oil and gas imports from Russia rose in February and remained at a roughly constant level since. Reuters reports that China’s nonstate refiners are looking to increase their purchases of discounted Russian oil in anticipation of a rise in demand for energy as China relaxes some COVID-19 lockdown measures. The smaller, non-state refiners hold about one-quarter of China’s total refining capacity.
June 11, 2022:
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy answers a question on how Taiwan can respond to Chinese coercion or invasion after giving remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue. Although his response does not explicitly discuss tensions between Taiwan and China, he advocates that the world should use diplomatic efforts to preempt violence and war, and the world must not leave any country behind that is “at the mercy of another country which is more powerful, in financial terms, in territorial terms, and in terms of equipment.”
June 10, 2022:
- [Statement] Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meet on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, where they follow-up on an April phone call by exchanging views on global and regional security issues, including the Ukraine crisis. Austin “strongly discourage[s]” China from providing “material support” to Russia, according to the U.S. readout of the meeting. In the Chinese readout, Wei states that the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative “have pointed out the right direction for mankind to overcome the crisis.”
June 8, 2022
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian asserts that by providing expertise to support Ukrainian cyber operations against Russia, the United States is “conducting a dangerous experiment in the context of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.” Earlier the same day, U.S. Cyber Command Director General Paul Nakasone says that the United States has “conducted a series of operations across the full spectrum: offensive, defensive, [and] information operations.”
June 7, 2022
- [Action] Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong asserts that subnational partnerships between China and Russia have elevated their “level of cooperation under new circumstances” during a virtual meeting with Russia’s envoy to the Volga Federal District, a Russian subregion. Both agree to deepen the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership through subnational partnerships like the “‘Yangtze-Volga’ mechanism.” The mechanism began in 2017 to promote trade, investment, infrastructure, and business start-ups between local governments in five Chinese provinces and one municipality along the Yangtze River and Russia’s federal district at the mouth of the Volga River on the Caspian Sea.
June 3, 2022
- In a video call with European reporters, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman claims that China challenges Europe’s security, economy and values, and has done so since before Russia invaded Ukraine. Sherman voices the United States’ desire to “align [U.S. and European] approaches” to China and claims the U.S. vigilantly monitors the Russia-China alliance for any transfer of Chinese military equipment.
June 2, 2022
- According to South China Morning Post, Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claim that “the Ukraine crisis has pushed Moscow and Beijing closer together” and created opportunities for financial cooperation. Lavrov specifically identifies the opportunity to use local currencies for bilateral trade settlement, which has historically relied on the use of euro and dollar before the United States, G7, and the EU isolated Russian banks from western financial institutions, raising barriers to transacting in these currencies. Transacting using rubles or RMB could facilitate trade between the two countries. According to the South China Morning Post report, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi did not comment on financial cooperation, choosing only to reiterate China’s stance that military blocs do not guarantee regional security. The virtual event is not listed on the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs page for Ministry activities.
June 1, 2022
- [Action] The Nikkei reports that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) changed the venue for its October annual meeting to a virtual format hosted by the bank’s Beijing headquarters. The AIIB had previously planned to meet in Russia. The AIIB, whose largest shareholder is China, did not explain the reason for the change.
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks at a forum jointly held by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Russian International Affairs Council, which his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov also attends. Wang says “China is willing to work with the Russian side to continue to implement the important consensus of the two heads of state and promote the development of the global governance system in a more just and reasonable direction.”
May 27, 2022
- [Sanctions] The RBK Daily reports that the Civil Aviation Administration of China is barring Russian airlines from flying foreign-owned Boeing and Airbus aircraft in its airspace. Sources who spoke with RBK said that China is requiring Russian airlines to provide evidence that their Boeing and Airbus planes are de-registered abroad, showing proof that they are Russian-owned. While many of the planes operated by Russian airlines are leased from international lessors, Russia passed a law in March permitting Russian airlines to dual register these aircraft in Russia and continue service, in violation of international law. Russian-operated Boeing and Airbus aircraft are also impacted by U.S. and EU export controls, including prohibitions on providing maintenance components, which has raised safety concerns from other aviation authorities. The United States has also identified a list of noncompliant aircraft operated by Russian entities and could take enforcement actions against “any person, anywhere” who provides any services, even refueling, to these aircraft.
- [Sanctions] Bloomberg reports that China International United Petroleum & Chemical Co., a subsidiary of state-owned Sinopec, has hired ten additional tankers to transport Russian crude oil loaded at Kozmino port. It is not yet clear if these ships will deliver oil to Chinese ports.
May 26, 2022
- [Statement] During U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s speech on “The Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China,” he says “Beijing’s defense of President Putin’s war to erase Ukraine’s sovereignty and secure a sphere of influence in Europe should raise alarm bells for all of us who call the Indo-Pacific region home.” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responds to Blinken’s speech, saying “China-U.S. relations are not a zero-sum game” and China “will never yield to blackmail or coercion, and will firmly defend China's sovereignty, security and development interests.”
- [Action] China’s envoy to the World Health Organization Yang Zhilun votes against a proposal by the United States and over 40 other countries that condemns Russia for creating a health emergency in Ukraine. The resolution, which is approved by a majority, states that the body could consider Russia in violation of the Constitution of the WHO if it does not cease attacks against healthcare facilities in Ukraine. China also votes in favor of an alternative proposal from Russia and Syria which contains similar support for humanitarian efforts but lacks the other proposal’s provisions targeting Russia. That proposal does not pass. According to Reuters, Yang states that the WHO is “the wrong forum for discussing Ukraine’s health problems.”
May 24, 2022
- [Action] China and Russia hold their first joint military exercise since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force and the Russian Air Force conduct aerial patrols with four bombers over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan near Japan’s airspace. Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi calls this action more provocative than past drills because it occurred during the Quad summit in Japan. Kishi also asserts that in light of “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the fact that China took such action … cannot be overlooked.”
- [Statement] Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin expresses China’s appreciation for Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement that Russia will focus on developing relations with China and “reliable” countries to reduce its dependence on Western imports. Wang reaffirms the importance and resilience of the China-Russia relationship.
May 23, 2022
- U.S. President Joe Biden compares Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the possible event of China taking Taiwan by force, stating that the need to make Russia to pay a long term price for its invasion of Ukraine is “not just about Ukraine,” as it also signals “to China about the cost of attempting to take Taiwan by force.” In response to a question of whether he is willing to “get involved militarily to defend Taiwan,” Biden answers “yes,” and the following day says “the policy has not changed at all.”
May 21, 2022
- [Media] The South China Morning Post reports that Gong Fangbin, a People’s Liberation Army veteran and retired professor of the National Defense University in Beijing, wrote an article on WeChat on May 17 that challenges Russia’s purported rationale for invading Ukraine. Gong’s article reportedly claims that Russia’s attempt to seize land indicates that Russia holds an outdated concept of national power, that Russian land was not under threat, and that Russia now lacks the flexibility to change course. The article has since been removed from WeChat.
May 19, 2022
- [Action, Statement] Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi chairs the annual BRICS Summit, which brings together the foreign ministers of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The five foreign ministers release a joint statement affirming their support for dialogue between Russia and Ukraine and concern over the humanitarian situation. The joint statement does not use the term “invasion.” Wang Yi also promotes General Secretary Xi Jinping’s proposed Global Security Initiative during his speech.
- [Sanctions] The Wall Street Journal reports that the CCP’s Central Organization Department issued an internal notice in March that bars ministerial-level officials’ spouses and their children from holding overseas real estate and equity in foreign companies, largely prevents senior officials and their immediate families from setting up accounts with overseas financial institutions, and requires officials to sign pledges complying with the bans. It is not clear at the moment if the rules apply retroactively to the current overseas holdings of senior cadres. The Journal says that the rules may be intended to reduce the exposure of top officials to the kinds of sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs.
- [Sanctions] Bloomberg reports that China and Russia are holding bilateral talks on government purchases of crude oil to replenish China’s strategic petroleum reserves. These discussions are reportedly at the government level with little involvement from oil companies. According to the data and analytics firm, Kpler, China has “room to replenish stocks and it would be a good opportunity for them to do so” because the price of Russian crude oil has fallen due to western sanctions.
May 18, 2022
- [Statement] China’s top diplomat and Politburo member Yang Jiechi holds a phone call with U.S. national Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, which focuses on “regional security issues and nonproliferation,” and they also exchange further views on Ukraine, according to the U.S. readout.
May 16, 2022
- [Statement] China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian says that the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Communiqué, issued on May 14, “grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs, maliciously slanders and smears China, and once again exerts pressure on China using such pretexts as the Russia-Ukraine conflict.” The G7 Communiqué urges China to not support Russia in the war, not undermine sanctions imposed on Russia, and “desist from engaging in information manipulation, disinformation and other means to legitimise Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”
- [Sanctions] U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo says that the United States is not “seeing systematic efforts by China to go around our export controls,” and China’s technology exports to Russia, including product categories covered by the export controls, have declined sharply. In March 2022, China’s exports of laptops to Russia fell 40 percent year-on-year. Raimondo also reports that exports of telecommunications network equipment to Russia were down by 98 percent, while smartphone shipments also fell roughly two-thirds.
- [Statement] China’s top diplomat and Politburo member Yang Jiechi pens a commentary in the People’s Daily summarizing China’s foreign policy position in 2022. Regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he says that China has “spoken up for justice in the international arena.” He writes that the Global Security Initiative highlights “security as the precondition for development” and that “humanity [is] living in an indivisible security community.”
May 12, 2022
- [Statement, Action] China votes against a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) directing the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine to investigate possible war crimes and violations of human rights that occurred around Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Sumy. The Commission of Inquiry was established on March 4 by an HRC resolution to investigate alleged violations and abuses of human rights against Ukraine by Russia. China abstained from voting on that resolution.
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] CNOOC 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.
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. Wang writes that the Global Security Initiative “is a vivid demonstration of the vision of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind in the security field,” explicitly connecting the new initiative to the foreign policy vision which General Secretary Xi has repeatedly espoused.
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 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.
- U.S. 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 votes against a General Assembly’s resolution to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution passed with 93 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.
- [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 targeted over 600 Ukrainian websites, peaking 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.
A China-based cyber threat actor was also attributed to malware attacks in late February that targeted European organizations with files masquerading as reports on the Ukraine-EU border, according to cybersecurity researchers at Google and Cisco Talos. Ukraine’s national cybersecurity agency later in March releases details of a malware attack against Ukrainian entities, which independent researchers at Sentinel Labs link to a Chinese-speaking cyber actor.
- [Statement] General Secretary 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 Zelenskyy.
- [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 Zelenskyy 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
- [Statement, Action] China abstains from a vote on a UN Human Rights Council resolution that condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and establishes an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of war crimes and human rights abuses. China’s Ambassador to the UN Office in Geneva Chen Xu says “China opposes the establishment of an independent international commission of inquiry on the Ukraine issue. We do not support any action that may intensify tensions.” Rather than join Russia in voting against the resolution, China abstains and the resolution is adopted by the body.
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)