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China blasts ‘smokescreen of war’

Washington should help de-escalate tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border and drop persistent threats of punitive measures against Moscow, Beijing’s top diplomat has said amid a growing standoff between East and West.

Speaking in a briefing on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin weighed in on US predictions that Russia’s armed forces could soon begin pouring over the border of the Eastern European nation to wage an offensive.

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According to him, “the credibility of the US intelligence community has been tested on many occasions, including Iraq and Ukraine.”

“I would like to stress once again that in seeking a political resolution of the Ukraine issue, nobody should put up a smokescreen of war and use it as leverage, or threaten others with sanctions and pressure, still less resort to the means of inciting bloc confrontation,” Wang added.

The diplomat insisted that “efforts should be made on the basis of the Minsk II agreement to properly treat the reasonable security concerns of all sides, including Russia, through dialogue and negotiation, and work for the full resolution of the Ukraine crisis and related issues.”

His remarks come amid a critical climate on the countries’ shared frontier in recent months, with Western leaders repeatedly voicing concerns that Moscow is pulling troops to the borderlands ahead of invading Ukraine.

In January, US President Joe Biden threatened his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin with unprecedented crippling sanctions should he give his country’s army the greenlight for an incursion. “He’s never seen sanctions like the ones I will impose,” Biden warned at the time.

The Kremlin, however, has repeatedly denied that it has any plans to attack and has argued that the movement of its troops on its own territory is an internal matter. Amid the flurry of accusations, Russia embarked on a pursuit that Beijing has openly backed to obtain security guarantees from the West to rule out NATO enlargement.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin released a joint declaration earlier this month calling on the US-led military bloc to refrain from further expansion and to drop its “Cold War” mentality.

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