Sergei Lavrov said the West made Russia and China strengthen ties, accusing Washington of trying to contain Beijing’s rise.
“The cooperation between the two countries will be stronger. At a time when the West is blatantly undermining the foundations on which the international system is built, our two great powers need to think carefully about how to survive in this world.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today commented on bilateral relations with China at an event in Moscow.
Mr Lavrov said that China had been seen by the West as its “main rival” for years, but before that this role was assigned to Russia.
“The two countries are just swapping places. At this point, the West is saying they will settle Russia first and then consider China,” he said, accusing the US of pulling other countries to contain China because of the country’s economic success.
The Russian Foreign Minister stressed that Moscow and Beijing will continue to cooperate within the framework of traditional and regular dialogue, including exchanges between leaders, government members and foreign policy bodies of the two countries.
China is Russia’s main export market after the European Union. Russian exports to China were worth $79.3 billion in 2021, of which oil and gas accounted for 56 percent, according to China’s customs authorities.
The Russian foreign minister’s comments came a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by phone with US President Joe Biden. Xi reiterated that the stance of military confrontation and conflict “doesn’t benefit any country”, and stressed that the crisis in Ukraine is not the scenario China wants to see.
Meanwhile, President Biden warned that China could suffer consequences if it “provides material support” to Russia during its military campaign in Ukraine.
Washington has repeatedly expressed hope that Beijing will influence Moscow to resolve the Ukraine issue peacefully. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in early March that relations with Russia were “solid as rock” and “will not be affected by any third party”.
At an event in Moscow today, Lavrov also expressed his hope that Russia’s “special military operations” in Ukraine can be completed by a series of documents that comprehensively address Moscow’s issues, including On security issues, Ukraine is committed to maintaining neutrality and ensuring security. interests of the Russian-speaking community in Ukraine.
The 71-year-old diplomat accused Washington of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s negotiating team.
“Mr Zelensky proposed negotiations, our President accepted. Negotiations are improving, but we have always felt that the Ukrainian delegation was being held back by the Americans, not allowing them to accept the simplest demands.” , he said.
Since Russia launched military operations in Ukraine On February 24, the delegations of the two countries carried out several rounds of negotiations, but only reached an agreement on the issue of establishing a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians, not on a ceasefire.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on March 18 that seven humanitarian corridors had been established, including six in the Sumy region and one in Donetsk, to take civilians out of the war zone.
Ukrainian and Russian negotiators this weekend unanimously assessed that the dialogue is progressing positively and towards the conclusion of an agreement. However, the head of the Russian delegation emphasized that the meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Zelensky would take place only after the delegations of the two countries had finalized the draft agreement.
Trung Nhan (Based on TASS, Reuters)