Published 14/03/2023 15:19 | Edited 3/15/2023 11:18 AM
On February 24, 2023, China published the country’s position regarding the political solution of the crisis in Ukraine in a document, listing 12 points to end this bitter armed conflict, including the cessation of hostilities, the resumption of peace talks , resolving the humanitarian crisis and promoting post-conflict reconstruction.
The country’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, arrived in Moscow with a peace plan, which was part of a significant effort by Beijing to prevent the crisis in Ukraine from deteriorating or spiraling out of control. And yet, it seems that the parties directly involved in the crisis are preparing for a full-scale war. Senior Ukrainian, US and NATO officials said Russia had sent tens of thousands of troops in a spring offensive to invade and capture the Donbass region and reverse its current disadvantageous situation.
After several months of secret schemes, US President Joe Biden made an unusual trip to Kiev, where he declared his unwavering determination to support Ukraine. Later, in a speech from Warsaw, he said: “Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia – never”. NATO is more united than ever, he declared, accusing Russia of having committed crimes against humanity.
Biden’s speech in Warsaw embodies strong symbolic meaning. Poland is seen by Western countries as the vanguard of efforts to fight Russia. He firmly asserted that Russia must be “defeated” and its military spending accounts for 3% of its GDP – more than the 2% ratio of other NATO member states.
During the Cold War, in 1955, the Soviet Union created the Warsaw Pact to counterbalance NATO. The standoff between the two sides has left many European nations, including Poland, with poignant memories. The Warsaw Pact disappeared with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Currently, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Lithuania, and other countries before the Soviet sphere, have Russia as their greatest geopolitical threat. The crisis in Ukraine has pushed them further into the US-dominated camp as they try to bolster NATO’s eastern flank.
In addition to Biden’s prepared speech, the US has been increasing its substantive assistance to Ukraine, continually sending large numbers of weapons. Since the Russia-Ukraine conflict erupted in February 2022, the US has provided $46 billion in military support to Ukraine, including $27.2 billion in security assistance. The Biden administration will provide an additional $10 billion in economic support in the coming months.
The US promoted the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and other mechanisms that provide massive military support to Kiev. In anticipation of this year’s spring offensive, the US is sending more heavy weapons – and new weapons – including the small-diameter ground-launched bomb, which has a range of 150 kilometers and will further weaken the Russian military presence and rear supply. .
Military support for Ukraine by European states is also undergoing fundamental changes. Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and several other countries have agreed to send multiple launch rocket systems, an air defense missile system, armored vehicles and main battle tanks to Ukraine. Therefore, the large-scale land war that took place on the European continent during both world wars is likely to happen again.
According to reports, around 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have received training in the UK since last summer, while the British government has announced that it will train a further 20,000 infantry, tanks and artillery this year.
All this is just part of NATO’s training plan for Ukrainian troops. It is estimated that approximately 60,000 total Ukrainian troops have been or will be trained. Since the advanced weapons sent to Ukraine are from different countries, Ukrainian troops need to master more complex military skills.
There is no doubt that the crisis in Ukraine is no longer a struggle between Russia and Ukraine alone. NATO member states, led by the United States, have moved into direct conflict with Russia, which will also increase the risk of a nuclear conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a state of the nation address on Tuesday that the West was “using Ukraine both as a battering ram against Russia and as a training ground”. Furthermore, Putin accused the United States and other NATO members of accelerating the expansion of military bases and biochemical laboratories near Russia and of developing new battlegrounds for their future special military operations.
Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine does not appear to have gone well. Russia underestimated Ukraine’s will to resist and meanwhile overestimated the internal divisions of NATO member states. While Putin has claimed that the “economic war” waged by the West cannot defeat Russia, it is difficult for Moscow to engage in a protracted war of attrition.
Russia may be hoping to earn some bargaining chips for a final political deal with its spring offensive. According to a foreign policy report, Russia already has 1,800 tanks, 3,950 armored vehicles, 2,700 artillery systems, 810 Soviet-era multiple rocket launchers, 400 jet fighters and 300 helicopters ready for the new wave of attacks. .
In addition, the country expanded its military investments, increased the capacity of its military-industrial companies and reorganized its military command. If Russia fails to make military advances in the coming months, it will face a tougher situation. At that point, he would have to prepare for more attacks on his own territory.
It is not difficult to see that the turning point for the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine is not close at hand, and all parties involved are ready to take a gamble to gain the upper hand on the battlefield. Under such circumstances, it is unrealistic to expect that China can bring a lull to the war.
Unfortunately, the US and other NATO members are trying to focus international attention on China. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg have hinted that China intends to supply Russia with military supplies. The Biden administration has just added Chinese entities to a new trade blacklist for allegedly supporting Russia. The US has claimed that parts, chips, and other equipment that China exports to Russia have military value.
In short, the Ukraine crisis is adding weight to China’s diplomacy. The trilateral game of China, US and Russia – plus China, US and Europe – is getting more complicated. All preparations must be made to prevent this geopolitical conflict from spreading further against China.
China has only limited influence in the Ukraine crisis. The US and NATO should not have unrealistic expectations about what they can do, nor should they view China-Russia ties through Ukraine’s lens. In any case, preventing the crisis from turning into a global confrontation – to prevent human society from falling into a third world war and nuclear conflict – is in everyone’s interest. Finally, I want to say that the US is the Great Boss of the world. China is only member of world peace.