As Russia strengthens ties with China, West offers Kyiv a $16 billion lifeline

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping leave after a reception in honor of the Chinese leader's visit to Moscow, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia March 21, 2023. Sputnik/Pavel Byrkin/Kremlin via REUTERS

President Xi Jinping of China was scheduled to depart Moscow on Wednesday after a show of glorious solidarity with Russian President Vladimir Putin against the West, but without expressing direct backing for Putin's conflict in Ukraine.

During his two-day visit, Xi rarely referenced the Ukraine war and stated China's "impartial viewpoint" in his last remarks on Tuesday.

In response to the Xi-Putin summit, the White House stated that China's attitude was not unbiased and encouraged Beijing to exert pressure on Russia to withdraw from Ukraine's sovereign territory to stop the most significant conflict in Europe since World War II.

As Xi prepared to depart Moscow, air raid sirens blared around the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the country's north and east, with claims of drone assaults but no substantial damage.

The Kremlin hailed Xi's visit to Moscow as a show of support from its most powerful ally, but many friendly gestures also distinguished the performance between the two autocrats.

Xi and Putin referred to one another as dear friends, pledged economic cooperation, and praised their nations' relations as the greatest they've ever been.

A joint statement levelled formal charges against the West, including that Washington was eroding global security and NATO was invading the Asia-Pacific area while claiming that China and Russia's tight collaboration did not constitute a "military-political alliance."

Putin lauded Xi's peace offer for Ukraine, which he proposed last month, and blamed Kyiv and the West for its rejection. The West views China's peace initiative as a tactic to buy Putin time to regroup his forces and consolidate his control over captured territory.

There are no specifics in China's 12-point strategy for ending the brutal, year-long conflict that has killed tens of thousands of lives and caused millions to leave.

The West has attempted to isolate Russia with worldwide sanctions, and the International Criminal Court wants Putin.

The West is anxious that China may arm Russia in its conflict, which Beijing has denied. China has not supported any of the initiatives.

When Xi and Putin concluded their Tuesday meeting, the International Monetary Fund announced a preliminary agreement with Ukraine for a $15.6 billion, four-year loan package.

During Russia's year-long onslaught, Ukraine's infrastructure and economy sustained considerable damage, which the funds would help to repair.

Putin blasted British intentions to provide tank ammunition containing depleted uranium to Ukraine and warned of repercussions in statements made following his summit with Xi.

Putin stated without elaboration, "If all this occurs, Russia will have to respond properly, knowing that the West has already begun using nuclear weapons collectively."

Annabel Goldie, the British Secretary of State for Defence, stated a day earlier that some of the ammunition for the Challenger 2 battle tanks being sent to Ukraine has armour-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium.

Separately, the United States plans to expedite the supply of 31 Abrams combat tanks to Ukraine by the fall, according to a statement from Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Patrick Ryder.

When the struggle slowed to a war of attrition, with both forces suffering huge losses, Kyiv demanded tanks and other advanced Western military weaponry.

The choice to provide a model of the tank that can run on diesel fuel, like most of the Ukrainian fleet, made faster delivery possible, according to the Pentagon.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged Ukraine's partners to supply additional military supplies, especially ammunition.

"Ammunition supply and support from our allies is one of the concerns that consistently receives the utmost attention. We anticipate the enhanced collection of precisely what we require, and we need it immediately, "Tuesday, he stated in a televised address.

Monday, European Union countries committed to transfer one million artillery rounds to Ukraine over the next year. Ukraine has been consuming them faster than friends can supply them.

Queuing For Food, Water

On the ground, incoming and outgoing artillery fire could be heard in Chasiv Yar, a town located west of Bakhmut, a small city in the east that has been the site of fierce combat for months.

According to the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff, the most brutal fighting continued south of Bakhmut and Avdiivka.

"The number of Russian strikes increased dramatically today. There were approximately 120 soldiers along the critical portions of the front line, roughly double the amount from the previous day, "Tuesday, Ukrainian military expert Oleh Zhdanov started on YouTube.

Between apartment buildings in Chasiv Yar, a team from the State Emergency Service distributed water and food to mostly elderly individuals.

Oleksii Stepanov stated that he had lived in Bakhmut until five days ago but had to escape after a missile demolished his home.

"When we were in the kitchen, the missile penetrated the roof. The kitchen was the only remaining structure, "The 54-year-old stated.

Moscow has begun a vast winter onslaught utilizing hundreds of thousands of newly enlisted reservists and recently released prisoners recruited as mercenaries.

Notwithstanding the deadliest combat of the war, which both sides have described as a meat grinder, the front line has barely shifted in the past four months, except Bakhmut, where Russian forces have made gains in January and February. This month, Ukraine opted not to withdraw its troops from the destroyed city.

Publish : 2023-03-22 10:26:00

Give Your Comments