US media smearing China-Russia ties over Ukraine
EU is not on the same page over Ukraine as the US.
The Ukraine crisis has much misinformation circulating through some Western media outlets including Bloomberg in a way that would affect China-Russia mutual trust, which reflects the "ill intention" of the Western forces trying to stir differences between Beijing and Moscow, analysts said.
On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry refuted a Bloomberg report which claimed that the Chinese leader had allegedly "asked Russian President Vladimir Putin not to invade Ukraine during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games."
"The report was purely made out of thin air. It seeks not only to smear and drive a wedge in China-Russia relations but also to deliberately disrupt and undermine the Beijing Winter Olympics. Such a despicable trick cannot fool the international community," Zhao Lijian, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a routine press conference.
The Chinese Embassy in Russia slammed the report as “a hoax and provocation,” in a statement sent to Russian news agency TASS on Saturday, stressing that its position on the Ukrainian issue is consistent and clear.
In the same context, Russia's Foreign Ministry Sunday rejected what it described as "disinformation" from Britain, as the AFP reported after London accused Moscow of working to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine as tensions soar.
Such disinformation is a clear sign that NATO and the US are escalating tensions around Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a tweet.
“The disinformation spread by the British Foreign Office is more evidence that it is the NATO countries, led by the Anglo-Saxons, who are escalating tensions around Ukraine,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.#VoiceOfNations۔ pic.twitter.com/t99nNkmryM— Voice of Nations (@VoiceOfNations7) January 24, 2022
The first step? Not Russian
The military standoff on the Ukrainian border has reached a very dangerous point, Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.
"No one wants to escalate the crisis into a war, but conflicts could be sparked easily by accidents, and it's hard to fully prevent accidents in the intense stand-off," Yang noted.
"China has always hoped that Russia and the US could solve the problem over Ukraine through dialogue, and this position will not change," Yang said.
However, no matter what the scenario is, it is unlikely that Russia will initiate the first step. Why is that? Russia has previously supported the UN-adopted Olympic Truce during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, at a time when countries involved in the standoff, such as the US, the UK, and Australia have refused to sign it, according to experts. They stressed that this is a clear indication that the US and its followers are more likely to launch conflicts and Russia is more likely to be the one who is forced to react if the conflicts escalate.
While some Western media outlets are trying to disrupt China-Russia ties, there seems to be divergence in the US and EU views about Ukraine, as the EU stance and actions are quite different from those of the US in recent days on the crisis.
One example is that the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday that the EU will not follow the US move to withdraw embassy personnel and families in Ukraine, but "all members of the EU are united," and are showing unprecedented unity over the situation in Ukraine, the AP reported.
Europe; a tectonic plate
In addition to the divergence between the US and the EU, there seems to be a lack of unity within the EU itself in the Ukraine crisis. The recent resignation of German navy chief Kay-Achim Schonbach following his "pro-Russia" comments exposed the deep-seated divergences within the West over regional security issues, Chinese analysts noted.
Schonbach resigned after he told a think tank panel during his visit to India on Friday that Putin "probably" deserved respect, and Crimea was "gone" and would "never come back" to Ukraine, arguing in favor of cooperating with Russia to contain China's rise.
Some media reports described the comments as an unprecedented diplomatic incident, and the German government distanced itself from Schonbach's comments, according to German media outlet Deutsche Welle.
As Russia and Germany enjoy a special relationship in their history and their current cooperation extends to sectors such as energy, the attitude of the German navy chief also reflects the country's practical view on foreign relations, which would be beneficial to the development of the national economy and to the stability and security of Europe, experts said.
"Many of the European countries want peace with Russia, unlike the US," Yang said. "Only the US wants chaos."