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China's position on Russia-Ukraine war and why it matters, expert's view

China's position on Russia-Ukraine war and why it matters, expert's view Photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping (Getty Images)

The position of China regarding Russia's war against Ukraine remains ambiguous. However, Beijing's opinion is crucial for Ukraine, as the PRC holds influence over Global South countries, states Iliya Kusa, an analyst from the Ukrainian Institute for the Future.

China's position

He noted that China's perspective on what peace should be differs from Ukraine's position. Specifically, Beijing does not fully endorse President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's peace formula.

Kusa explained that certain aspects of the Ukrainian initiative, such as nuclear security, interest China, but he deems some of them impractical. Specifically, this concerns the immediate withdrawal of Russian occupiers from Ukraine.

"They believe that negotiations cannot start with such a demand, as it's a maximalist condition from Ukraine, essentially undermining the restart of the negotiation process. They want a compromise: either change the Peace Formula or use a different plan as the basis for negotiations," he explained.

The Ukrainian authorities are not ready to make compromises, as it would be perceived as betrayal and a refusal to give up territories, says the analyst.

Why China's opinion matters

Kusa emphasized that China's opinion is important for Ukraine, not only for political reasons. The country continues to be one of our largest trading partners.

"Plus, as it turns out, China has become a source for purchasing drone components and more. They sell them to Russia as well, but it's still a good cheap source that benefits us," he clarified.

China holds significant political influence over countries in the Global South, which could be advantageous for Ukraine. Beijing maintains leverage over Russia as its share in the market of the aggressor country continues to grow.

But, as Kusa points out, it's not certain that China's attempt to pressure Russian dictator Vladimir Putin economicall will be effective.

"In any case, China is a valuable partner for us. At least it's better for it to maintain such neutrality than to openly provide military assistance to Russia," noted the analyst.

For more details on China-Ukraine relations refer to the material by RBC-Ukraine.