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Xi Jinping warned Vladimir Putin against nuclear attack in Ukraine – Financial Times

Wednesday, 5 July 2023, 10:59
Xi Jinping warned Vladimir Putin against nuclear attack in Ukraine – Financial Times
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping during the meeting on 4 February, Photo by SPUTNIK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against a nuclear attack in Ukraine.

Source: Financial Times with reference to a senior US administration official, a former Chinese official, Western officials, a senior adviser to the Chinese government, and sources close to the Kremlin.

Details: According to the sources of the publication, Xi made this statement during a visit to Moscow in March. Since then, Chinese officials have credited themselves with making progress in persuading Putin to abandon veiled threats to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine.


The FT notes that in its public statements, China has consistently opposed using nuclear weapons in Ukraine. But many of Kyiv's allies doubt Beijing's intentions, given the "no limits" partnership between Xi and Putin and China’s so-called "peace plan", which largely repeats Russian theses.

At the same time, Xi's warnings to Putin give hope that China supports its public statements with closed-door rhetoric.

A senior US administration official said, "the Chinese are taking credit for sending the message at every level".

Earlier, in March, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrel said that Xi's visit "reduces the risk of nuclear war, and they [the Chinese] have made it very, very clear".

A former Chinese official confirmed to the FT that Xi personally told Putin not to use nuclear weapons, noting that China's position against their use was included in his position document on peace in Ukraine.

Western security officials told the publication that Putin was disappointed because Xi's visit did not bring any tangible victories for Russia. In their opinion, the condemnation of the use of nuclear weapons in the joint communique was likely added at the direction of China.

If Russia were to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, "it’s all downside for China," one of them said.

China refrains from criticising Russia for the invasion and accuses the West of fuelling the conflict over arms supplies to Ukraine. At the same time, according to a senior adviser to the Chinese government, the war threatens to negate China's efforts to divide Europe and the United States.

According to the adviser, a Russian nuclear strike on Ukraine or one of its European allies could turn the continent against China, while constant pressure from Beijing to prevent such an act could help improve relations with the continent.

Sources close to the Kremlin claim that the Russian leader independently decided that tactical nuclear weapons would not give Russia an advantage after predicting scenarios that could arise due to their use. According to them, a nuclear strike would most likely turn the territories that Putin claims to be Russian into an irradiated desert and would do little to help his troops move forward.

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