China has urged the United States to remain calm and refrain from actions that stir up tensions over Ukraine, stressing that Russia’s security concerns in Europe should be “taken seriously,” amid a brewing crisis between Moscow and the West.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks in a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, as they discussed the growing tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
“All parties should completely abandon the Cold War mentality and form a balanced, effective, and sustainable European security mechanism through negotiation,” Wang said. “Russia’s reasonable security concerns should be taken seriously and resolved.”
He also noted that “regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding military blocs,” in a nod to Moscow’s concerns about NATO’s eastward expansion.
In response, Blinken told his Chinese counterpart that “de-escalation and diplomacy” was the only way to resolve the ongoing crisis, adding that a Russian “invasion” of Ukraine would lead to “global security and economic risks.”
The US, its NATO allies, and Ukraine have accused Russia of planning “an invasion” of Ukraine amid a military buildup near the Ukrainian border. Moscow rejects the allegation and insists that deployments are defensive in nature.
On Monday, the US announced it had put about American 8,500 troops on heightened alert for a possible deployment to Eastern Europe to counter the alleged threat of a Russian invasion. NATO countries also said they were sending additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe and putting forces on standby.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Washington of fueling tensions over Ukraine, stressing that Moscow was watching US actions with great concern.
The US State Department has also approved shipments of US-made missiles and other weapons from NATO allies Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to Ukraine.
Other NATO members, including Britain and Poland, have agreed to directly send arms to Ukraine, including handguns, ammunition, and anti-tank weapons.
The latest development comes as the US has delivered written replies to Russian security demands and sought dialog over Ukraine. Blinken announced that the US delivered the written response to Russian security demands on Wednesday.
The Kremlin said on Thursday Russia’s main security demands had not been taken into account by Washington.
Russia has already warned of “appropriate measures” against the West if the Kremlin doesn’t receive a constructive response from the United States on its security demands.
Russia has demanded legally binding guarantees from NATO that it will halt its eastward expansion and return to its 1997 borders. Moscow also demands that the military alliance never admit Ukraine as a member.
Earlier this month, American and Russian diplomats held talks to resolve the crisis over Ukraine but failed to make a breakthrough. However, they agreed to continue the talks.
During the talks, the Russian representatives reiterated Moscow’s position that its demand for security guarantees be taken seriously. They also made it clear that they were not looking to start any war and had no plan to “invade” Ukraine.
But the Western bloc insists that Russian President Vladimir Putin would ultimately decide on some form of invasion or incursion.
Ukraine, the EU, and the US also claim that Russia has a hand in an ongoing conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine between government forces and ethnic Russians since 2014. Russia rejects that allegation.