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Ukraine to surrender? Ready to discuss neutrality, says Volodymyr Zelenskyy after suffering losses on Day 1 of Russian invasion

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n As per a report by Reuters, at a daily briefing in Beijing, Chinaxe2x80x99s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, ‘we understand Russiaxe2x80x99s legitimate concerns on security issues’n

China refuses to call Russia's military attack on Ukraine an 'invasion': Where does Beijing fit in conflict

n File image of Russian president Vladimir Putin meeting his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Moscow. APn

On the second day of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, China refrained from calling it an “invasion” or even criticise Moscow for its intense assault on Ukraine in which the number of casualties is growing.

As per a report by Reuters, at a daily briefing in Beijing, Chinaxe2x80x99s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, xe2x80x9cwe understand Russiaxe2x80x99s legitimate concerns on security issuesxe2x80x9d.

Letxe2x80x99s take a look at where China stands in the regional conflict that may have far-reaching consequences:

Russian attack not an ‘inavsion’: China

On Thursday, as the Russian military began an assault on Ukraine, China called for restraint from all sides, while saying the military operation should not be described as an xe2x80x9cinvasionxe2x80x9d.

“China is closely watching the latest situation, and we call on all parties to maintain restraint and prevent the situation from getting out of control,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing where she was repeatedly asked if Beijing condemned the actions.

Also read: Ukraine crisis completely different from claims over Taiwan, says China

Hua on Thursday refused to call the military action an “invasion”, labelling the term “prejudiced”, and dodged questions on whether China was in contact with Russian and Ukrainian leaders.

Addressing the plenary meeting of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Ukraine, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations Zhang Jun noted that Ukrainexe2x80x99s issue is xe2x80x9crooted in a complex web of historical and present factorsxe2x80x9d.

On Friday, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin also hit back against US President Joe Biden’s comment that any country that backed Russia’s invasion would be “stained by association”, saying that it was countries that interfered in the domestic affairs of others that would see their reputations stained.

China and Russiaxe2x80x99s xe2x80x9cno limitsxe2x80x9d relationship

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in Beijing earlier this month and released a joint statement, saying the friendship between their countries had xe2x80x9cno limitsxe2x80x9d and there would be xe2x80x9cno forbidden areasxe2x80x9d of cooperation.

The lengthy 5,000-word statement on February 4 called NATO a relic of the Cold War and criticised the rise of new US-led blocs like Quad, an alliance between the US, India, Japan and Australia, as well as AUKUS, which strengthens security ties between the US, Australia and the UK.

Also read: Vladimir Putin plays Ukraine card well, but will the West bend and accept his demands?

The two countries also signed a $117.5bn oil and gas deal along with the joint statement to cement their economic relationship.

The diplomatic friendship between the two leaders, who have met more than 30 times since 2013, can aid Russia in the face of an impending economic blow as a consequence of its strike on Ukraine.

As the US mounted new sanctions on Russia, China emerged as an economic lifeline for the country.

According to Al Jazeera, Chinese customs authorities have announced to lift import restrictions on Russian wheat, which makes up more than one-quarter of the global supply.

In a possible scenario of further sanctions on Russia, China could soften the blow by increasing its share of energy imports under the 30-year oil and gas contract.

Long before the Ukraine crisis unfolded on the global map, the two countries enjoyed close relations with reference to military, economy and politics.

As per a report by The Hindu, China became the first foreign buyer of the S-400 missile defence system in 2014.

In September 2018, Russia hosted the militaries of China and Mongolia as a part of the Vostok 2018 military exercise to improve ties between the countries, making them the first two countries outside of the former Soviet Union to join the exercise.

The relation between the two countries has been growing on the commercial front as well. Bilateral trade between Russia and China grew by 35 per cent last year to $147bn, largely driven by Chinaxe2x80x99s energy imports.

The Communist Party-run Global Times reported in January this year that energy imports are set to account for 35 per cent of all trade in 2022.

It has also been Russiaxe2x80x99s biggest trading partner for 12 consecutive years and accounts for close to 20 per cent of Russiaxe2x80x99s total foreign trade, The Hindu reported.

Chinese companies signed construction project deals worth $5 billion last year xe2x80x94 for the third straight year xe2x80x94 according to Chinaxe2x80x99s Ministry of Commerce.

With inputs from agencies

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