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China says no to sanctioning Russia amid Ukraine bombardment, vows to continue ‘normal trade cooperation’

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China on Wednesday said it would not consider sanctioning Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine and said it will continue with “normal trade cooperation.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a “special military operation” last week, and Ukraine has endured seven days of brutal fighting that has resulted in the death of roughly 2,000 Ukrainians and 5,000 Russian soldiers, according to Ukraine’s State Emergency Service

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin attends a news conference in Beijing, China December 14, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin attends a news conference in Beijing, China December 14, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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In response to the deadly invasion the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and dozens of European nations slapped severe sanctions on Russian banks, businesses, Putin and other elite members of Russia’s government and society. 

But despite its repeated claims that it respects a state’s sovereignty, China has refused to outright condemn Russian aggression or institute sanctions.

“China firmly opposes all illegal unilateral sanctions, and believes that sanctions are never fundamentally effective means to solve problems,” spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry Wang Webin said Wednesday. “They will only create serious difficulties to the economy and livelihood of relevant countries and further intensify division and confrontation.”

Ukrainian soldiers ride on top of the BTR-4 "Bucephalus" during a weapons training exercise on Feb. 4, 2022, in Lviv, Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers ride on top of the BTR-4 “Bucephalus” during a weapons training exercise on Feb. 4, 2022, in Lviv, Ukraine.

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“China and Russia will continue to conduct normal trade cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” he added.

China surprised the international community last week when two of its largest state-owned banks restricted financing for Russian commodity purchases.

But the limited move reflected China’s reluctance to take a stronger stance against its top ally. 

A resolution put forward by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council condemning Russia’s illegal invasion failed to pass Friday after Russia vetoed the measure and China abstained from voting. 

The UN held a rare emergency special session of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly Wednesday – a meeting that has not been called in 40 years. 

People take cover as an air-raid siren sounds near an apartment building damaged by recent shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 26, 2022. 

People take cover as an air-raid siren sounds near an apartment building damaged by recent shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 26, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich )

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World leaders will seek to pass a nonbinding resolution that calls for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops in Ukraine and condemns what world leaders have called “war crimes” under the Geneva Convention. 

The resolution, backed by 94 U.N. member countries, is expected to pass by a wide margin.  



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