The Biden administration came out against China’s push for a ceasefire in the war in Ukraine, saying Thursday that a pause in fighting would work to Russia’s advantage.
Chinese President Xi Jinping intends to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an effort to broker a peace deal between the two nations, which have been at war for over a year after Russia’s invasion. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters the administration believes a ceasefire would work against Ukraine.
“While that sounds perfectly reasonable and it sounds like a good thing, a ceasefire right now would basically ratify Russia’s conquest. Russia would basically be free to use that ceasefire to further entrench its positions in Ukraine, to rebuild their forces, refit them, re-man them, retrain them so that they can then restart attacks at a time of their choosing.”
United States opposes a ceasefire in Ukraine because right now it would mean securing Russian gains and "would be a violation of the UN Charter," White House spokesman John Kirby said.. pic.twitter.com/I3NO9vQHBE
— Geo_monitor (@colonelhomsi) March 17, 2023
Kirby said the White House supports talks between Xi and Zelensky, but warned Beijing against adopting a stance that favors Russia.
Xi is scheduled to visit Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Chinese leader has also reportedly reached out to Zelensky, although details on that were also unclear. Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in a Thursday phone call.
A spokesperson for United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stopped short of rejecting a ceasefire, but echoed Kirby’s stance that any peace deal must not favor Russia.
“If China wants to play a genuine role in restoring sovereignty to Ukraine then we would obviously welcome that,” the spokesperson said. “We’re clear that any peace deal which is not predicated on Ukraine’s sovereignty and self-determination is not a peace deal at all. So we will continue to call on China, as we have done before, to join other countries across the world in calling on Putin to withdraw his troops.”
The Biden administration, the European Union, and the UK have been arming Ukraine for over a year as the war has ravaged the Eastern European country. The U.S. has so far committed well over $100 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Estimates are that each side has seen more than 100,000 soldiers killed, and millions of refugees have fled Ukraine.
Russian forces have cemented the 2014 seizure of Crimea and now occupy much of eastern Ukraine, where a majority of residents are ethnic Russians whose sympathies lie with Moscow.