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Restraint urged on Ukraine issue

By CHEN YINGQUN in Beijing, REN QI in Moscow and MINLU ZHANG in New York | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-02-23 06:50
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People being evacuated from eastern Ukraine's breakaway region of Donbass ride a bus at a railway station. As tension escalated recently in eastern Ukraine, the leaders of the newly declared "Lugansk People's Republic" and "Donetsk People's Republic" announced a mass evacuation of civilians to Russia. VLADIMIR SMIRNOV/TASS

Legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected, FM says

China called on all parties concerned in the Ukraine issue to exercise restraint, avoid any action that might fuel tensions and seek reasonable solutions to the situation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two decrees on Monday recognizing "the Lugansk People's Republic" and "the Donetsk People's Republic" as independent and sovereign states. He later instructed the Russian armed forces to ensure peace in the two "countries".

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken by phone on Tuesday. Wang said that China is concerned about the evolution of the situation in Ukraine. China's position on the Ukraine issue complies with its consistently held position that the legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be safeguarded.

The evolution of the Ukraine issue so far is closely related to the delay in the effective implementation of the new Minsk Agreements, he said.

China will continue to engage with all parties according to the merits of the matter itself. The situation in Ukraine is deteriorating, and China again calls on all parties to exercise restraint, ease the situation and resolve differences through dialogue.

The United Nations Security Council had an emergency meeting on the deepening Ukraine crisis on Monday. Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, said at the meeting that "all parties concerned must exercise restraint and avoid any action that may fuel tensions".

"We welcome and encourage every effort for a diplomatic solution, and call on all parties concerned to continue dialogue and consultation, and seek reasonable solutions to address each other's concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect," Zhang said.

The current situation in Ukraine is a result of many complex factors, he said.

"We believe that all countries should solve international disputes by peaceful means in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter," he said.

Putin's recognition of the two "republics" on Monday drew immediate sanctions from the United States. The US and its European allies are also poised to announce harsh new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Li Yonghui, a researcher of Russian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Russia's recognition of the "republics" is a key step to hinder NATO's eastward expansion. Russia and NATO will probably have a long-term military confrontation, and a more tense security situation is likely to appear in Europe, she said.

Moreover, after a series of talks with Western countries, Russia has seen that Western countries are not likely to send troops to safeguard Ukraine's security in addition to imposing economic sanctions on Russia, Li said.

The independence of the two regions means that the Minsk Agreements, signed by Russia and Ukraine in 2014 and 2015, have become mere scraps of paper, Li said.

"All parties may still need to return to the negotiating table to deal with the situation," she said.

Yuri Rogulev, director of the Franklin Roosevelt Foundation for United States Studies at Moscow State University, said the current international deadlock will last for a long time. Moscow's Western adversaries and Russia itself can maintain tension, but no one will cross into the point of no return, he added.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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