China 'embarrassed' about alliance with Russia says expert
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CGTN, the international arm of the state-run China Central Television, published an article reporting that 56 people had been killed after Russian forces opened fire on a care home in Ukraine.
The move by the Chinese state broadcaster on Sunday suggests Beijing is starting to distance itself from Russia after previously refusing to condemn the invasion.
Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, retweeted the article and said: “China’s state broadcaster is sharing reports of atrocities in Ukraine. Putin stands alone.”
It comes after Boris Johnson urged China to get off the fence and join in global condemnation of Putin’s devastating attack on its neighbour, as Russian forces continue their bombardment of Ukrainian towns and cities.
The Prime Minister said he believed some in Xi Jinping’s administration were having “second thoughts” about the neutral stance adopted by Beijing in the wake of the invasion.
Mr Johnson called on China and other neutral nations to speak out against Russia.
He told the Sunday Times: “As time goes on, and as the number of Russian atrocities mounts up, I think it becomes steadily more difficult and politically embarrassing for people either actively or passively to condone Putin’s invasion.
“There are considerable dilemmas now for people who thought they could sit this one out, who thought they could sit on the fence.
“And, yes, I think that in Beijing you are starting to see some second thoughts.”
On Saturday, China’s vice foreign minister Le Yucheng blamed Nato – a “Cold War vestige” – for the war and criticised crippling sanctions against Russia.
Meanwhile, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi insisted Beijing stands on the right side of history over the war.
He said: “China will never accept any external coercion or pressure, and opposes any unfounded accusations and suspicious against China.”
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Mr Wang’s comments came after US President Joe Biden warned his Chinese counterpart during a call on Friday of “consequences” if Beijing helps Russia.
China’s foreign minister added: “We have always stood for maintaining peace and opposing war.
“China’s position is objective and fair, and is in line with the wishes of most countries.
“Time will prove that China’s claims are on the right side of history.”
Putin launched his devastating invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
The brutal attack has killed at least 902 civilians, according to the United Nations.
City areas have been reduced to rubble and millions of refugees have fled the country.
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