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China's red lines on war: Ukrainian Ambassador's response

China's red lines on war: Ukrainian Ambassador's response Illustrative photo (Getty Images)

For China, the primary and fundamental red line in the war in Ukraine is the use of nuclear weapons, according to Ukraine's Ambassador to China, Pavlo Riabikin, in an RBC-Ukraine article "'Perfect couple': Russia's dependence on China and what happens if Beijing abandons Moscow."

Nuclear weapons

"If we try to define the red line, I think it is indeed the use of nuclear weapons. Let us recall that Russia's verbal nuclear blackmail in 2022 subsided after China declared not only the inadmissibility of the use of nuclear weapons but also the threat of their use," Riabikin said.

As the ambassador explained, the use of nuclear weapons could compel China to intervene, as it does not align with Beijing's peacekeeping rhetoric.

Escalation beyond Ukraine's borders

Another red line is the escalation of the war beyond Ukraine's borders, which could destabilize the region and affect other countries. The more countries involved in the war, the higher the risk of nuclear weapons being used.

Currently, Russia fears China and is dependent on it. If Beijing turns away from the Kremlin and starts supporting Kyiv, Moscow will face difficulties. The enemy will then have to seek new trading partners.

Ultimately, the lack of support will not lead to an immediate collapse, but the window of opportunity for Russia will narrow even more. The occupiers will likely have to go into a defensive stance and forget about any offensives or insist on urgent negotiations.

"Over the past two years, Russia has committed thousands of crimes - the Bucha massacre, nuclear blackmail, the blowing up of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, shelling of civilian infrastructure, the killing of civilians, women, and children - none of which has shaken Beijing's cooperation with Moscow. That is why I would not indulge in vain illusions but would proceed from the realities," the ambassador added.

China's stance on war

Despite China's claims of a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine, Beijing has yet to condemn its partner Russia for the full-scale invasion and has not supported Western sanctions. Moreover, Xi Jinping recently stated that his country supports a political resolution to the war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the West accused China of aiding dictator Vladimir Putin in his war against Ukraine.