China accused the US of “increasing tensions” and “provoking panic” over the Ukraine situation on Wednesday, just hours after Washington announced penalties against Russia and indicated it would continue to equip Ukraine with weaponry in the event of a Russian invasion.
While Moscow has massed thousands of troops on Ukraine’s borders, Beijing has taken a cautious approach, criticising the West for imposing further sanctions after Russia ordered troops into two separatist Ukrainian regions it now recognises as autonomous.
US President Joe Biden had previously stated that the sanctions were simply the “first tranche,” and that more would be imposed if Russian President Vladimir Putin expanded his country’s military grasp beyond the two eastern Donbas provinces.
On Wednesday, China lashed out at the United States over the sanctions, claiming that it was inflaming tensions by shipping arms to Ukraine. The US measures were “increasing tensions, generating panic, and even playing up the war calendar,” Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, told reporters.
In answer to a query on China’s involvement in settling the crisis, she added, “If someone is pouring fuel to the fire while blaming others… then that behaviour is reckless and unethical.”
“All parties should respect and attach importance to each other’s legitimate security concerns,” she said, adding that China had “called on all parties to respect and attach importance to each other’s legitimate security concerns, strive to resolve issues through negotiation and consultation, and jointly maintain regional peace and stability.”