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Zhang Hanhui, China’s ambassador to Moscow, praised his country’s close relationship with Russia and accused the United States of being responsible for the “Ukrainian crisis” in an interview on Wednesday with Russia’s state-owned news agency TASS.
“As the main architect and instigator of the Ukraine crisis, Washington, while imposing unprecedented comprehensive sanctions on Russia, continues to supply Ukraine with weapons and military equipment,” Zhang told the RIA news agency.
Its ultimate goal is to exhaust Russia and destroy it with a long war and a stick of sanctions.”
Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24, killing at least 5,400 civilians and displacing more than 10 million people, according to the United Nations.
Five months into the war, fighting has broken out in the eastern Donbass region as Ukrainian forces try to prevent Russia from gaining more territory.
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Putin sought to bolster ties with China in the run-up to the invasion, visiting Beijing during the Winter Olympics and declaring in a 5,000-word joint statement with Chinese President Xi Jinping that the two countries’ partnership was “limitless.”
‘Under the strategic direction of [China’s] President Xi Jinping and President [of Russia Vladimir] Zhang told TASS that Putin, Sino-Russian relations have entered the best period in history, characterized by the highest level of mutual trust, the highest degree of interaction and the greatest strategic importance.
US officials said that while China appears to support Putin’s logic of war, the country has so far refused to provide any direct military assistance or helped the Kremlin evade sanctions.
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The comments by China’s envoy to Russia come amid escalating tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, visited Taiwan earlier this month, prompting the Chinese military to conduct live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait after she left.