A state of emergency will be imposed throughout Ukraine

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on developments in Ukraine and Russia, and announces sanctions against Russia, from the East Room of the White House on February 22, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

China has criticized Western sanctions against Russia and said it will not follow suit, calling the measures “not a basic and effective way to solve problems” and saying it “always opposes any illegal unilateral sanctions.”

Russian President Joe Biden said on Tuesday the United States would impose sanctions on Russian financial institutions and oligarchs after Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered troops into separatist-held areas in eastern Ukraine. The United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Japan also announced new sanctions against Russia.

When asked at the Foreign Ministry’s daily briefing if China would consider following it, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded by telling the reporter, “You clearly lack a basic understanding of Chinese government policy.”

“We believe that sanctions are never the primary and effective way to solve problems. China has always opposed any unilateral illegal sanctions,” Hua said, stressing that the two sides should seek a solution through dialogue and negotiations.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying attends a press conference in Beijing on February 23.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying attends a press conference in Beijing on February 23 (Kyodo News/Getty Images)

In her response, Hua also asked questions about what previous US sanctions had achieved on Russia, asking reporters, “Have they solved the problem? Is the world better off because of US sanctions? Will Ukraine’s problems be solved automatically by imposing sanctions? About US sanctions against Russia? Will it be security?” Europe is safer as a result of US sanctions against Russia?I think we should try to solve the problem through dialogue and negotiations.

She noted that previous US sanctions “caused serious difficulties for the economy and people’s livelihood in the countries concerned,” adding that for Ukraine, the United States should “not undermine the legitimate rights and interests” of China and “other parties.”

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Currently, the US maintains sanctions against Russia that were imposed in response to its 2014 invasion of Ukraine. Others have been imposed on issues including cyber attacks, election interference, arms proliferation, and illegal trade with North Korea.

The relationship between Russia and China: China faces a complex situation as it tries to balance a strong friendship with Russia with its foreign policy of vigorously defending state sovereignty.

On February 14, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the embassy in Ukraine is “operating normally” and continues to provide protection and consular assistance to Chinese citizens and businesses in Ukraine.

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